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Steampunk Sunglasses


Today we will talk about steampunk sunglasses of the 1800’s fashion. Here are some tips to follow this culture and be like people from that wonderful era.


Steampunk glasses are one of the main accessories of steampunk art. They are also sunglasses. This is the most visible part of a person, so the glasses will attract people’s attention first. And if you have steampunk glasses, then this definitely guarantees you the proper outrage. What should the perfect steampunk glasses look like?

Steampunk sunglasses


The aesthetic steampunk movement is inspired by the Victorian era of England in the years 1837-1901, the American Civil War of 1861-1865, and the French era from 1879-1914. We can say that steampunk is based on the fashion of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to these different epochs of history, the fate of glasses has developed. The best was taken from each era. Mixing or vice versa, the difference in styles greatly influenced the further development of steampunk sunglasses.


If we consider glasses as a steampunk accessory, then their style should also correspond to that time. By the way, were there glasses in the 1800 fashion? What was their design like when were sunglasses invented? Let’s take a closer look.


If you look at some pictures of the early 1900s in the United States, sunglasses were very rare items. Among the huge crowd of people, you can see only one person who has such unique glasses. At that time, people were more fond of umbrellas, hats to protect themselves from the sun. Therefore, it was difficult to find a person wearing glasses. Then it seemed, maybe, even some unusual or ridiculous useless thing, a simple incomprehensible accessory. But people may not even have imagined how fashion would change in the future and what will replace umbrellas, hats, and caps.


victorian glasses

It wasn’t until around the 1930s that a lasting fashion for sunglasses emerged. Foster Grant began selling its glasses on the beach in Atlantic City in 1929. We should go back even earlier to history to understand more deeply the appearance of the first sunglasses and their cause because it’s not just the pleasant summer sun that can shine as much as we think. Those who are familiar with physics and natural phenomena, could probably already guess.

The Portuguese scientist Nuno Fernandez was on his way home from Italy in 1459. He was wearing glasses with colored lenses. Such glasses he wanted to use for going in the snow, to protect his eyes and see the terrain of the earth’s surface. It is possible that this is the very first fact of using protective glasses from the sun. For a long time, it was believed that blue and green lenses had a positive effect on vision in general and had a healing effect. The most popular trend to use sunglasses appeared in the 1840s.

1800s sunglasses
Some examples of 19th-century glasses designs.


The very first mention of sunglasses is found in US newspapers in the 19th century. Ads for various products, including 19th century glasses, were published. People quickly realized that such advertising works great, and the idea of selling sunglasses is just amazing. Over time, various manufacturers began to place such ads in newspapers. Glasses began to gain popularity in the fashion of that era. To get a better effect, a photo in a newspaper ad was needed. Since about 1898, photos with such glasses have already appeared in advertising.


In the early days of steam punk glasses, their lenses were round in shape. Between 1810 and 1830, the lenses took on an oval shape. After that, the fashion changed very much, and the glasses took a rectangular and octagonal shape. Only by the 1850s, the fashion returned for oval glasses.


Steampunk Art
Optical & Philosophical Instruments Catalogue 1867



Steampunk Art

The metal was used as the material for the frame: copper, steel, gold, iron, alloys, and others. In rare cases, the frames were made of turtle shell or cattle horns. The shape of the frames was all different sorts of.

In the 19th century, all models of glasses were different and did not belong to only one category. Each manufacturer tried to make some unique design to attract customers. It could be different shapes, steampunk sunglasses with side shields, and even 4 lenses at the same time.




In the mid-19th century, glasses with blue glass were in fashion. It may look amazing now, but no one was surprised back then. There are various reasons for this. English scientist Robert Hunt in 1854 conducted experiments with glasses. He found that a ray of light that passes through a blue lens can magnetize a compass needle. With other lenses, there was no such effect. At that time, it was believed that blue lenses were associated with mystical power, so all people wanted glasses of this color.



General Pleasanton

Then in 1871, General Pleasanton of the United States proved that a ray of light that passes through a blue lens stimulates the growth of animals and plants. After that, people believed that wearing glasses of this color is very healthy. People started buying such glasses for themselves and their families. And then fashion hit the trick. Glasses changed their appearance, shape and became an integral accessory in the life of a person who could afford to buy such a thing in principle.




We all associate sunglasses with the summer months and the hot sun, but this is not the case for the peoples of the North. Even 2000 years ago, the northern people used glasses to protect themselves from the sun. In the North, the sun is very bright in April and May, so the eyes need additional protection. Such snow glasses do not have glasses, along the cut is made for the eyes, so that the beam of light from the sun is weakened. Of course, such glasses do not use glass, they are made of birch bark or deer skin. Fixing such glasses on the face is with a rope made of deer skin. In such glasses, the eyes are not only protected from bright light but also the vision itself becomes more accurate and sharp.



In ancient Egypt, evidence has also been found that the Egyptians protected their eyes in this way. In the tomb of Tutankhamun, unique emerald spits were found, which were connected by a plate of bronze metal. Through such emerald glasses, the Roman emperor Neuron also watched gladiator fights. Although it is not exactly glasses, but the principle of light use is the same.


Let’s not forget about the land of the rising sun – China. In the 12th century of ancient China, plates made of smoky quartz were used. Such glasses allowed the judges to protect their eyes from the sun, but first of all, the judges hid their eyes from the people present in the hall. By the way, in America in 1960, a limited line of futuristic designer glasses that look like sunglasses were produced for girls, so that they could hide their eyes from men and look at them secretly.


As we can see from history, there were a lot of different steampunk glasses and steampunk goggles. This item was used for various purposes, for example: fashion googles, round sunglasses with side shields, civil war glasses, steampunk reading glasses, etc. Over time, the style of glasses changed their fashion, and ways of fixing them on the face changed. We have to thank the first people who invented sunglasses, and then the people who improved them. We learned that the first steampunk eyewear were invented in the early 19th century.


Steampunk Art

If you want to follow exactly the fashion of the 19th century, you can choose steampunk eyeglasses with blue lenses. These glasses will certainly have a positive effect on your appearance and style. It should be remembered that steampunk sunglasses protect against ultraviolet light, from dust on the street, from dry wind. Exposure to large amounts of UV light can negatively affect health, cause cataracts, or cause creatinine. The UV400 value blocks harmful rays with a wavelength of up to 400 nanometers, which completely covers UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Nowadays, UV protection is possible with any lenes, this effect does not depend on the color of the lens.


We got acquainted with the history of the appearance of glasses and their formation as an independent accessory. To do this, we had to turn to historical facts that are more than 2000 years old. It turned out that the first glasses served as eye protection in the North, and then the southern continents used this method of protection. At the beginning of the 19th century, there was a start of the making of steampunk glasses, such as we know them. There were some experiments with the shape and materials used to make glasses, their lenses, and frames. Also, there were some misconceptions of the use of glasses and proof to the contrary. A lot has happened during this time, but one fact remains unchanged. Steampunk art got a great accessory – wonderful steampunk fashion glasses that we all like today.