Борис Бурда
Author: Boris Burda
Journalist, writer, bard. Winner of the "Diamond Owl" intellectual game "What? Where? When?"
Liberal Arts
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NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
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Quentin Massys. Two tax collectors

Sunglasses have been known for millennia, but for people of European civilization they have become fashionable relatively recently.

What scourge do you think could be used fairly well to advertise them?

The answer is a little later.




First, a question. What do you think? What color of glass was used in the very first sunglasses? Green, blue, red, yellow, gray-brown-crimson? They appeared a very long time ago – what color of glass was then easier to make and use? Think …

Now let’s check our answers. The correct answer is none! In those days, when the peoples of the Far North had no idea about glass production, they already had to protect themselves from snow blindness, which is caused by the reflection of sunlight from snow.

In the absence of glass, they could change the luminous flux entering the eyes, only limiting it to the bitter end. They took a piece of bark or a strip of skin, cut through narrow slits and looked through them – this saved from the most unpleasant consequences of snow blindness.

The writer Rytkheu, a Chukchi by nationality, who grew up in a camp, wrote: “The hunters used special glasses – thin leather strips with narrow slits for the eyes. Such eyepieces greatly limited the horizons, but one could not be afraid of the insidious rays of the sun. “

They made such glasses from anything, sometimes from splinters or bones, and in our time they were sometimes even made of metal – for example, like this is a product of the Nenets. No glasses, just narrow slits. The luminous flux is not filtered, but simply the whole is reduced – this also helps out.


NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
Metal glasses of the Nenets. Source: wikipedia.org




There was also something else besides snow that caused problems with light in the eyes – there is still more sun in the south than in the north. So, before the appearance and in more familiar latitudes of special devices for sun protection, we did not have to wait for mountaineering to become fashionable.

Perhaps the first mention of a device that protects from light was the story of the habit of the emperor Nero to look through a polished emerald (most likely, chrysolite or chrysoprase) – not instead of glasses, but in order to see a healthy green color more often.

But this idea was proposed long before Ancient Rome. Items that could be sunglasses have been found in the tombs of the pharaohs. They are two identical cuts of small sizes, made of emeralds and framed in bronze.

Interestingly, the opinion about the usefulness of green after the doctors of Nero was repeated by many – for example, Dr. James Askew, who lived in the middle of the 18th century, argued that looking through green is good for vision. They say that the green color in production is comfortable even now.

But the glasses with smoky quartz glasses used by judges in China since the 12th century were not needed at all for protection from the sun – the Chinese judges simply wanted the witnesses not to see the expression in their eyes during interrogations and  answered more impartially.




For the first time, Napoleon decided to use sunglasses massively – in the Egyptian campaign, he decided to save the soldiers from the hot desert sun. However, a film of varnish and soot applied to the glass saved not only from the sun – not a damn thing was visible at all. And where were they supposed to shoot?

In the 19th century, there was evidence that the ultraviolet component of the spectrum of sunlight is harmful to the eyes, and this led to the scientific basis for light-protective glasses. The glasses began to cover the sides from the sun, with leather and fabric, and in 1797 they added side inserts made of green glass.

In the same 1797, the Englishman John Richardson proposed the next step – a light shield for ordinary glasses. The sun has begun to annoy – you just fix the sun-protection lenses on top of the corrective lenses that are worn all the time. Convenient and also fashionable: everyone is jealous!

A little later, the convenience of such glasses was appreciated by patients with syphilis, then very poorly curable – sometimes it led to intolerance to bright light. At the same time, a pad for the nose was attached to such glasses, which was often deformed with this disease.




At the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries, a new large contingent of people emerged who demanded this kind of device. At first, train passengers began to wear safety glasses, then motorists liked them even more, and  pilots chose such glasses in the First World War.

They had one common meaning – protection from the headwind, dust flying in the face, and at the same time the ability to see without interference everything in the direction of movement, even when your face is just against the sun. So the car boom at the beginning of the last century became a spectacle boom.

The pilots of the First World War painted ordinary glasses with simple glasses on their own, what they could and how it turned out. And in the 30s, the US Department of Defense specially ordered to develop glasses for them, comfortable, high-quality and stylish at the same time. The result of the development was called “Aviator”.

Not only pilots immediately liked them. But special interest in them arose after the release in 1969 of the film “Easy Rider”, the Cannes laureate. Peter Fonda, who plays the main role in these glasses, made many people want to have and wear exactly the same ones.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
Peter Fonda. Source: persons-info.com





More and more people were walking around in sunglasses. For Hollywood actors, it became a way to hide from prying fans, and in addition, it was proven that the light on set was often too strong for human eyes – it was worth looking out for.

And in the 30s, Edwin Herbert Land invented polarizing glasses that turn a beam of light from the headlights of an oncoming car into a relatively safe luminous point, and even protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation. By the way, the Polaroid camera is also his development.

They also came up with special goggles for people in special conditions – travelers, climbers, all kinds of extreme sportsmen and even welders. They began to be called “goggles” and protected the eyes from almost everything – from the sun, and from dust, and from sparks, and from the wind.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
Goggles. Source: newegg.com


Firms advertised their eyewear designs. For example, Karl Zeiss promised that in their glasses their face will not be spoiled by wrinkles in the corners of the eyes. Christian Dior introduced huge glasses into fashion, Giorgio Armani gave his own names to new eyewear designs, Wayfarer glasses were glorified by Hollywood stars.

The company Oakley also made a good find – their Eyeshade glasses for cyclists were worn by racer Greg Lemond at the 1985 Tour de France, and in 1987 already half of the participants wore such glasses. Success is evident, there are other successes, but how to develop them and take advantage of them? We need advertising.

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
Greg Lemond at the Tour de France wearing Eyeshade glasses. Source: sport-marafon




Advertising is not difficult – find an agency, pay more and go! Here are just money … not that sorry – I want to spend it not in vain. But John Wanamaker, the great advertiser, complained that half of the advertising costs were in vain, and it’s never clear which one.

Well, of course, Procter & Gamble Co with an ad budget of $ 4.9 billion, and that’s in the US alone – around $ 10 billion will be released worldwide, every year! But Oakley is by no means a monster, its possibilities are limited, money should be spent less, and they should work better.

Spot advertising, one good video? Here is Ridley Scott’s video “1984”, after which the frenzied career of Apple computers began – how much did it cost? $ 600,000, almost exactly $ 10,000 per second … you have to think …


Ridley Scott’s promotional video “1984”. Source: youtube.com

But what if you link your ad to some important event? So they are important events and the advertising in them is the most expensive – the Olympic Games are a typical example of this, some zeros in the price are enough to get scared. And are there a lot of important events in the world?


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Quite a lot, and not all of them are pleasant – there are entire industries in which the inherent risk is part of the game. For example, mining – whatever is foreseen to deal with disasters in mines, they are repeated with frightening regularity.

Firedamp and coal dust explosions, safety violations, seismic processes – there are enough reasons for a disaster. On April 26, 1942, a coal dust explosion at the Benxihu mine in China killed 1,549 people, but fewer victims could scare anyone.

A lot of things depend on the attitude to safety in a particular state. In the United States, for the 100 million tons of coal mined, there are 6 dead miners, and in Turkey, for the same 100 million tons, more than 700 people died – this is more than two orders of magnitude higher than the death toll in the States!

There are such troubles in other countries, including ours. And in places like Chile, where things have not changed enough since colonial times, at 884 mines in the Atacama Desert alone, there were only 3 safety inspectors – there is just trouble!




And trouble comes to the San Jose mine – on August 5, 2010, the collapse keeps the entire working shift underground. Attempts to clear the exits caused new landslides, it did not work out through the ventilation shafts – they also fell asleep. We started drilling vertical wells: what if someone survived?

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
Mine of San Jose. Source: wikipedia.org


Only on the 17th day was a weak knock on one of the drill pipes. At the end of the raised probe was a note: “We are alive and in a shelter, there are 33 of us”. Yes, there was a shelter – but only with a three-day supply of food and water. On a lowered video camera, the miners told how they saved in order to survive.

They began to receive a special nutritional formula developed by NASA. Three different drills are trying to break through to them in order to raise them in a special capsule. To cool the boers, they arrange the delivery of water to the desert by tank trucks. The forecast for the duration of the work is 3 months.

The striker of the hammer of the most powerful drill, installed by the famous expert Brandon Fisher, broke down, but after 5 days it was possible to change it, and after 13 days of work, on the 43rd day of the accident, it broke through the ceiling of the shelter. Now they just needed to double the well for the capsule.

The mood and health of the miners, of course, are not good – they have been underground for several months. They asked for cigarettes and alcohol to be delivered to them, the doctors initially forbade them, but under the threat of severe depression they allowed smoking – no one ordered non-smoking loonies.

And the doctors are already considering how to treat those who can be saved. Living in darkness, cold and mine dust will clearly undermine their health. And how will they get out of the incessant darkness? The eyes have already got used to it, but in the light this will start … We urgently need to do something!




To prevent the light from damaging the eyes of the miners, you need to equip them with glasses!

Oakley has some really good goggles, they will do the job well – equip each of the 33 miners who are about to rise to the surface with Oakley goggles!

The whole world is watching them – let him see them wearing these glasses!




A little earlier than it seemed possible, on the 69th day after the accident, the rescue capsule lifted all the miners from a 700-meter depth during the day. All TV channels in the world, all reputable media showed how they came to the surface – wearing Oakley glasses!

NON-RIVIAL SOLUTION: How to palm off glasses using good deed?
The miners on the surface are wearing dark glasses. Source: mirror.co.uk


Of course, Oakley did not become greedy, everyone got the best model, far from cheap – this one costs $ 180 in the store, a serious price! For 33 miners it turns out less than $ 6,000 – a lot? The cost of such an advertising campaign around the world would be at least $ 40 million!

The miners were met on the surface not only by all their relatives, but also by the president of the country – even the president of neighboring Bolivia, a former miner, arrived. The day on October 12, 2010, when the miners were rescued, was celebrated throughout Chile as a national holiday.

These weren’t the only gifts. It is known, for example, that the football clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United invited the miners to their matches, and the head of Apple, Steve Jobs, gave each of them an iPod of the latest model. But the glasses are still more noticeable …

Some said that it was not a charitable gesture, but an action – just an opportunity to promote themselves, hiding behind good intentions. In my opinion, in vain – after all, they really did a good job! And if it was also useful for them – so much the better!




Everything changes over time and it changes dramatically. Show modern sunglasses to primitive northern hunters – do you think they could have guessed that this is basically the same as their bark bandages with slits?

The first glasses looked pretty creepy, but modern ones are even nice to look at. Any frequently used thing will be made beautiful by the masses of users …

Napoleon was right in principle – the sun is a sufficient hindrance for the soldiers, one might think about how to fight. But no matter what ideas, even sensible ones, were offered by the most important by definition, the crowd of sycophants around them will disfigure and destroy.

Nero is a fool! Instead of becoming famous for the invention of a useful thing that will be used in 2000 years, he was engaged in repression and terror … So he committed suicide before he reached thirty-two – it would be better if he invented glasses!

If you advertise your abilities and products, and at the same time do a good deed – who gets worse from that? Only better! So go ahead and don’t be shy.

By the way, the Americans have developed special sunglasses for their army and police, and very good ones. Napoleon, do you understand?

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