The Evolution of Swimming Goggles: A Timeline

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Swimming goggles have come a long way since their humble beginnings.

From the rudimentary designs of the 14th-century Persian pearl divers, who used polished tortoise shells to protect their eyes underwater, to the advanced, technology-infused goggles of today, the evolution of this essential swimming accessory is a fascinating journey.

Notably, TheMagic5 has revolutionized the industry with their custom-fit swimming goggles, using 3D scanning and printing techniques to provide unparalleled comfort and efficiency. Join us as we explore the remarkable transformation of swimming goggles through the ages.

Evolution of Swimming Goggles

14th Century

14th Century Goggles

Persian pearl divers utilize goggles made from polished tortoise shells, ingeniously designed to protect their eyes while diving for valuable pearls. These early goggles were rudimentary and primarily focused on basic eye protection without enhanced visibility or comfort features.

16th Century

16th Century Goggles

The technology of goggles evolves in Mediterranean regions, particularly among Venetian coral divers who adopt the Persian practice, using tortoiseshell goggles. These goggles help divers see better underwater, significantly impacting the efficiency of their diving practices in coral and pearl collection.


1911 Goggles

Thomas Burgess, attempting to swim across the English Channel, adapts motorcycle goggles for his swim. These goggles were not originally intended for swimming; hence they were not watertight. Burgess's innovative use of these goggles marked a pivotal moment in the history of swimming, showcasing the potential benefits of goggles in long-distance open-water swimming.


1926 Goggles

Building on Burgess's idea, Gertrude Ederle uses motorcycle goggles sealed with paraffin wax to swim across the English Channel. Her modifications made the goggles more water-resistant, which significantly improved her visibility and eye protection during the swim. Ederle's success not only highlighted the functionality of goggles but also their potential to enhance performance in competitive swimming.


1968 Goggles

This year marks the commercialization of modern swimming goggles, designed specifically for pool use. These goggles feature new materials like polycarbonate plastic, offering better durability, clarity, and water resistance. The introduction of these specialized swimming goggles transforms the practice and professionalism of the sport, making goggles a common accessory for both competitive and recreational swimmers.


1970s Goggles

David Wilkie's use of homemade goggles in the 1970 Commonwealth Games demonstrated the competitive advantage provided by goggles. His success with goggles pushed the global swimming community to adopt goggles widely in professional competitions. By the end of the decade, goggles are an essential part of every competitive swimmer's kit, credited with improving both performance and comfort.


By this decade, goggles are universally available and have become a standard piece of swimming equipment. Advances in technology and manufacturing processes during this period made goggles more affordable and comfortable, with features like UV protection and anti-fog lenses enhancing their utility and appeal to a broad range of swimmers. Despite this, goggles remain uncomfortable and in a one-size-fits-all approach.


2017 Goggles

TheMagic5 revolutionizes the industry by introducing custom-fit technology. Using 3D scanning and printing techniques, goggles tailored to the individual facial contours and features of each swimmer are made readily available for swimmers of all skill levels, offering unprecedented comfort and efficiency. This innovation marks a significant leap in personalizing swimming gear to fit the unique needs of swimmers.

The journey of swimming goggles from their early forms to the highly specialized equipment we see today showcases the incredible advancements in technology and design.

Each innovation, from the tortoiseshell goggles of Venetian coral divers to Gertrude Ederle's paraffin-sealed motorcycle goggles, has contributed to making swimming a safer and more efficient sport.

Today, companies like TheMagic5 continue to push the boundaries with their custom-fit goggles, ensuring that every swimmer can experience the perfect blend of comfort and performance.

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