Made In The Shade(s): The Sunglasses Quiz

Do you know your sunglasses history? Then try your hand at our Made In The Shade(s) Sunglasses Quiz.

Ladies and gentlemen – start your brains (not your search engines), and good luck!

Your questions are:

The first “sunglasses” were made by the Inuits from:

A. Disks of sea ice.

B. Jellyfish, sliced very thin.

C. Flattened walrus tusk, with slits cut through.

The first mass-produced sunglasses were called:

A. Fosters Freezes, given away with each ice cream purchase, starting in the 1940s.

B. Foster Grants, sold on the boardwalk in Atlantic City in the 1920s.

C. Ulysses S. Grants, first used during the Civil War in the 1860s.

Those first mass-produced sunglasses were made from the same material as:

A. Movie film.

B. Ping pong balls.

C. Slide rules (and bonus points if you know what a “slide rule” is).

The first popular plastic sunglasses were called:

A. Plastiques, and were imported from France.

B. Wayfarers, and were made by Ray Ban.

C. Mister Kools, and were given away with each pack of Kool cigarettes.

An essential element in making plastic sunglasses is:

A. Plastique, invented by a French chemical engineer after World War Two.

B. Vibranium, a substance found principally in the country of Wakanda.

C. Benzene, a petrochemical used to make a wide variety of plastics.

And finally, “sun cheaters” are:

A. An old slang term for sunglasses.

B. People who steal other people’s solar power.

C. Duh, people who only cheat during the daytime.

And the answers are:

1. The first “sunglasses” were made by the Inuits from:

The first “sunglasses” or sun goggles, were made from flattened walrus tusks, with slits cut through to block reflection from the sun.

2. The first mass-produced sunglasses were called:

The first mass-market sunglasses were made by Sam Foster, called Foster Grants, and sold from a Woolworth’s on the boardwalk in Atlantic City (this was when Atlantic City was still the big summer resort for the Northeast).

3. Those first mass-produced sunglasses were made from the same material as:

Celluloid, which is the material Sam Foster used for those glasses – was also used for movie film, ping pong balls and slide rules.*

4. The first popular plastic sunglasses were called:

The first popular plastic sunglasses were Ray Ban’s Wayfarers, which came out in the 1950s (but those sunglasses Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  No, not, Wayfarers.  Manhattans, if you’re curious.).

5. An essential element in making plastic sunglasses is:

You might be able to make some pretty remarkable sunglasses from Vibranium, but for most of us, it’s the petrochemical benzene that we can’t do without.  (The ten-second synopsis goes like this:  benzene is one of the chemicals produced from crude oil – through a series of chemical reactions, benzene is used to produce various polymers, like the polycarbonate used in glasses.  At this point, the petroleum is long gone.

6. And finally, “sun cheaters” are:

“Sun cheaters” is an old term for sun glasses (just as “cheaters” is old slang for glasses)

7.  Your bonus question: A slide rule is a calculator before there were calculators.  You can learn more about it (and it IS pretty remarkable) at The Slide Rule.

Thanks for playing!

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