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Founded1936; 86 years ago (1936)
in Rochester, New York,
United States
Area served
OwnerLuxottica Group

Ray-Ban is an American-Italian brand of luxury sunglasses and eyeglasses created in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb. The brand is known for its Wayfarer and Aviator lines of sunglasses. In 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold the brand to Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica Group for a reported $640 million.[1]


In 1929, US Army Air Corps Colonel John A. Macready worked with Bausch & Lomb, a Rochester, New York-based medical equipment manufacturer, to create aviation sunglasses that would reduce the distraction for pilots caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky.[2][3][4]

Specifically, MacCready was concerned about how pilots' goggles would fog up, greatly reducing visibility at high altitude.[5] The prototype, created in 1936 and known as "Anti-Glare", had plastic frames and green lenses that could cut out the glare without obscuring vision. The name "Ray-Ban" was hence derived from the ability of these glasses to limit the ingress of either ultra-violet or infra-red rays of light.[6] Impact-resistant lenses were added in 1938.[7] The sunglasses were redesigned with a metal frame the following year and patented as the Ray-Ban Aviator.[5] According to the BBC, the glasses used “Kalichrome lenses designed to sharpen details and minimise haze by filtering out blue light, making them ideal for misty conditions.”[5]

In 1999, the Global Eyewear Division of Bausch & Lomb, including Ray-Ban was acquired by Luxottica Group for US$240 million.[1]

In 2021, Ray-Ban commercialized a model of smart glasses that they developed with Facebook Reality Labs called Ray-Ban Stories.[8][9]

Sunglasses lines[edit]

Ray-Ban's most popular sunglasses are the Wayfarer, Erika, and Aviator models.[5][10][11] During the 1950s, Ray-Ban released the Echelon (Caravan), which had a squarer frame. In 1965, the Olympian I and II were introduced; they became popular when Peter Fonda wore them in the 1969 film Easy Rider.[12] The company has also produced special edition lines, such as The General in 1987, bearing similarity to the original aviators worn by General Douglas MacArthur during the Second World War.[7] In the 1980s the Ray-Ban Clubmaster was added to the model line.[13] The Clubmaster has a browline frame and went on to become the third best selling sunglasses style of the 1980s, behind the Wayfarer and Aviator.[14]



  1. ^ a b "Company News: Bausch & Lomb Selling Sunglass Business to Luxottica". NY Times. April 29, 1999. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  2. ^ Pagan Kennedy (3 August 2012). "Who Made Those Aviator Sunglasses?". New York Times. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2017. And so Macready began working with Bausch & Lomb to design goggles especially suited to protect against the dazzle in the stratosphere. “My dad gave Bausch & Lomb the original shape, tint and fit” of aviator lenses, Wallace said.
  3. ^ "The best ever ray-bans".
  4. ^ "You can thank the US military for the world's most famous sunglasses". Business Insider France (in French). Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  5. ^ a b c d Foreman, Katya. "The enduring appeal of aviator sunglasses".
  6. ^ "What is the name origin of the Ray-Ban brand?". High Names. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  7. ^ a b "Fashion Notes". 24 May 1987. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ "Ray-Ban and Facebook roll out smart sunglasses that can film everything you look at". 9 September 2021.
  10. ^ Williamson, Charlote; Davis (1 September 2007). 101 Things to Buy Before You Die. New Holland Publishers. ISBN 9781845378851 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Shilling, Donovan A. (1 January 2011). A Photographic History of Bausch + Lomb. Pancoast Publishing. ISBN 9780983849605 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ "Mad Men Don Draper Meets Peter Fonda in Easy Rider (1969)". 14 November 2014.
  14. ^ Fassel, Preston. "Hindsight is 20/20: The Browline". The Optician's Handbook. Retrieved 2013-06-10.

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