Polaroid – The Polarization Pioneers

“The action of restricting the vibrations of a transverse wave, especially light, wholly or partially to one direction” Arguably one of the most influential brands ever, Polaroid created what we know as polarization and set the benchmark for how we wear sunglasses today.

What is polarization?

Well when it comes to your eyes, it is the effect light waves have on them. First it is important to understand that visible light waves from the sun travel in all directions. When light scatters and ends up meeting a horizontal surface (like a road or water), a big chunk of the light is reflected with “horizontal polarization”. This light is now seen by your peepers as a bright white glare, and ends up masking the light that is useful to you, reducing your visibility. A very clever human being by the name of Edwin Land invented a material that can reduce the overall light level that reaches the eye (polarization), which improves contrast and your overall visibility under this horizontal light.

Edwin H. Land

Anyway, that’s the scientific bit over (sort of). To understand where the polarised lens all started, you have to go back to the 1930’s with Harvard student Edwin H. Land. After filing the first patent on the light polarization technology, Land opened laboratories in Boston with his old Lecturer, to continue research in these technologies. They start producing goggles, sunglasses and eyewear for the armed forces. Not only eyewear, Land allegedly first conceived of the instant camera whilst on vacation after his daughter questions why she cannot yet see the photograph that had just been taken of her. By 1956, the 1 millionth Polaroid camera rolls of the shelves.

Polaroid was not only making the most iconic progressions in photography, but they were also leading the way in eyewear technology. By the 50’s the brand was started to get some of the most famous, influential people wearing their sunglasses, something that has continued all the way through to the present day.


To get a glimpse of how Polaroid all started, take a look at this short clip from Polaroid’s “Fishbowl” story.

The UltraSight Lens

To understand how Polaroid still leads the way in their lens technology, one must look at the UltraSight™ lenses. They have been exclusively developed for Polaroid polarized sunglasses, and are made of nine functional elements.

“Their supreme quality provides the wearer with exceptional comfort, all the while being of strong durability.”

Today, Polaroid continues to pioneer lens technology whilst consistently redesigns its aesthetic to stay current and fashion oriented. Their frames and lens colours adapt to the style needs of the modern consumer and this year the collection looks absolutely incredible. Bold coloured, mirror lenses paired with double bridged frames and rounded lens shapes gives the brand a real contemporary style. Their collection sits as perfectly at home when worn on a sunny beach as it does making its way through a bright city centre in rush hour.

The latest Polaroid sunglasses collection is available to purchase now.