Ray-Ban Aviators dates back to the 1930s, when new airplanes allowed people to fly higher and farther. Many US Army Air Service pilots were reporting that the glare from the sun was giving them headaches and altitude sickness. In 1929, when US Army Air Corps Lieutenant General John MacCready asked Bausch & Lomb, a Rochester, New York-based medical equipment manufacturer, to create aviation sunglasses that would reduce the headaches and nausea experienced by pilots, which are caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky, a new kind of glasses were introduced. 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 sunglasses were remodeled with a metal frame the following year and rebranded as the 'Ray-Ban Aviator'. On May 7, 1937, Bausch & Lomb took out the patent, and the Aviator was born.
In 1939, Ray-Ban launched a new version of the aviator called the Outdoorsman. It was designed for specific groups such as hunting, shooting and fishing enthusiasts, and featured a top bar called a "sweat bar" that was designed to catch sweat from falling into the eyes. They also featured temple end pieces to distinguish it from the standard aviator. A few years later, in the 1940s, Gradient lenses were introduced. These were mirrored lenses which featured a special coating on the upper part of the lens for enhanced protection, but an uncoated lower lens for a clear view of the plane’s instrument panel.
In 1952, Ray-Ban created another classic style, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, this time with plastic frames. They soon became popular in Hollywood, and can be seen on James Dean in 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause. The now-standard G-15 green and gray lenses were introduced a year after the Wayfarer, in 1953. The model would enjoy a massive comeback during the 1980s with widespread celebrity exposure.
The company also pioneered in wrap-around glasses: in 1965, the Olympian I and II were introduced; they became popular when Peter Fonda wore them in the 1969 film Easy Rider. In 1968, Ray-Ban released the Balorama, which was best known as Harry Callahan's sunglasses in the 1973 film Magnum Force. The brand remained popular during the 60s and 70s, and gained popularity during the 1980s thanks to a lucrative placement deal, with cameos in the movies The Blues Brothers (1980), Risky Business (1983) and Top Gun (1986).
In the 1990s, Ray-Ban became victim to a backlash against 1980s fashion, and rivals like Oakley gained popularity among younger customers, Ray-Ban started to struggle and, in 1999, owners Bausch & Lomb sold the brand to Italian eyewear company Luxottica for $640 million.
1950s and 1960s
The fifties was when Ray-Bans had gained recognition through American pop-culture endorsements for the first time. Kim Novak and Marilyn Monroe wore Wayfarers in public and movies. As the style grew in popularity, celebrities such as Roy Orbison, James Dean, and were seen in public and on television and movies wearing Wayfarers.
1970s and 1980s
As the 1970s lacked public celebrity endorsements for Ray-Ban, the 1980s was the decade of revival for them. In 1982, Ray-Ban signed a deal with a California company for $50,000 a year in order to have product placement for the brand in movies and television programs such as Miami Vice.
The media of the 1990s did not show many new celebrities wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses.; however, product placement in movies and television continued, making appearances in films such as GoodFellas (1990) and Men in Black (1997). 
Ray-Ban's "Never Hide" campaign was launched in March 2007. It consisted of a YouTube series and a film advocating customers to "Never pretend. Never be afraid. Never give up. Never Hide". The campaign also encourages people to live their lives with authenticity and no fear of judgment. Short YouTube videos show musicians and bands such as Slash of Guns N' Roses and Two Door Cinema Club wearing Ray-Ban products and playing live shows. The 2013 American film The Wolf of Wall Street featured with multiple Ray-Ban models worn by various characters throughout the duration of the film.
Film and television
Ray-Ban became more popular after the release of the movie Top Gun. The movie generated a 40 percent increase in sales for the Ray-Ban Aviator brand. The '80s garnered great attention to Ray-Ban through movies. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd wore them in The Blues Brothers. Jake and Elwood ALWAYS wear their iconic Wayfarers, even while sleeping or in a sauna. The one time Jake takes them off is to comically do puppy eyes to Carrie Fisher's character.. Bruce Willis wore them in his role as David Addison on Moonlighting. From 1982 through 1987 Ray-Ban placed their sunglasses in more than 60 movies and television shows. Tom Cruise wore black Ray-Ban Wayfarer in Risky Business and Don Johnson featured them in tortoise on the iconic Miami Vice.
Quentin Tarantino films such as the 1992 crime film Reservoir Dogs also had characters sporting models. Peter Capaldi wore Ray-Ban sunglasses as Sonic Sunglasses in his role as the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who during the Ninth Series. The glasses appeared to be replaced by a traditional sonic screwdriver at the end of the final episode of the series.
B-15 XLT lenses
Ray-Ban's B-15 XLT lenses were originally created for the United States Air Force pilots. These lenses are brownish in color, block 100% of all UV rays and allow only 15% of the visible light to pass through them. The B-15 XLT lenses also offer more contrast by cutting down the amount of blue light, as opposed to the G-15 lenses.
G-15 XLT lenses
G-15 XLT lenses have the same properties as B15 XLT lenses; however, they are composed of green and gray pigments. This lens has a lower contrast than the B-15 XLT lens allowing for the color and brightness of objects to be softer and more natural.
Ray-Ban polarized sunglasses have the transmission axis oriented vertically to block reflecting light. Polarized lenses are also appropriate for indoor use and can be worn by people whose eyes are light-sensitive; including post-cataract surgery patients and those continually exposed to bright light through windows. They may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found on the dashboards of some cars or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller (bank) machines.
Photochromic lenses (or "transitional lenses") are clear while indoor and automatically darken when exposed to sunlight. These lenses allow for full ultraviolet radiation protection. Photochromic lenses are convenient as they reduce the need to switch from outdoor prescription sunglasses to indoor prescription glasses. They come in a wide variety of lens materials.
Gradient lenses are a type of lens that are darker at the top of the lens, and then, moving down the lens, the color lightens, until it is no longer visible on the lens. This technology was developed for pilots for easier viewing of the flight instruments. They have the protection from the suns rays, but also can easily glance down at the instrument panel without having difficulty. They are popular due to their look, and come in many different gradients. They are also offered in bi-gradient color combinations.
Ambermatic lenses are a kind of transitional lens, in an amber color, that transition from gold to brown, which is caused by changing weather conditions. It also blocks glare improves contrast and sharpens details. They are ideal for winter sports and conditions. They were first released in 1978. They are similar to the photochromic lenses, but are only offered in one color. In 2014, Ray-Ban allowed people to vote on which popular Ray-Ban model, either Wayfarers, or Clubmasters would get the lens. After voting, the Ray-Ban Wayfarers were voted to obtain the lens, in which a limited production of the line will be created.
Ray-Ban has experimented with many different frame materials. As of 2014 Ray-Ban offers Memo-Ray, which is strong, flexible,and light. Carbon Fiber, which is strong and light. Light Ray, which is light, strong and hypo-allergenic.