Initially made to protect the eyes of motorists, aviators, and welders, goggles of various types are making their return as a fashion statement, especially among the Goth and Steampunk subcultures. Evergreen goggles dating from World War II and I, like the steampunk goggles, are often the most sought-after lenses, and they are not just worn to cover the eyes. The fashionable look involves goggles slung around the neck or topping off caps, top hats, and hats.
Made for safety, goggles have a lot of applications — from protecting scientists from splashed chemicals to protecting welder’s from flying bits of particles to protecting skiers, aviators, motorists and cyclists from the elements – the wind, blinding sunlight, and dust. What differentiates a pair of goggles from a normal pair of sunglasses happens to be the protective screen around the corners of the eyes, referred to as side curtains.
On steampunk goggles, the protective molding that completely circles the eye is often derived from leather, however, it could also be made from glass or wire mesh, as well. Vintage goggles are mostly fastened with arms that hook down over the ears tightly or with cloth ties in a bid for them not to slip off. Contemporary goggles are more likely to have either an elastic headband or arms, depending on the person they are made for.
There are two main goggle maker whose products are in huge demand on the collectibles market. The first happens to be the Jeantet Company, a French maker of spectacle frames. In 1929, they introduced a fresh design onto the marketplace, known as Aviator Goggles, and they were marketed to sportsmen, most especially aviators, drivers, and motorcyclists. The company has been a major force ever since and some 25 years ago (in 1992) they actually began production once again on their renowned aviator goggles.