Contraception or birth control refers to any method, medicine, or device used to prevent pregnancy. There are several types of birth control available to women. Some are more effective than others at preventing pregnancy. But have you heard about the military’s birth control glasses?
The “birth control glasses” was a nickname given for a very unappealing pair of glasses issued by the United States military. Because of their unattractive appearance, the thick brown frames and shapes were highly unpopular and associated with birth control.
The Major Cockblock Glasses
Anyone who has served in the United States armed forces in the last half-century will be familiar with the standard-issue GI eyeglasses. They were so unattractive, with thick brown rims and lenses that looked like magnifying glasses, that wearing them will significantly reduce the chances of getting laid to near zero.
The S9s, also known as birth control glasses or BCGs, were issued to US troops for decades up until 2012 when defense officials realized their iconically incorrect prescription eyewear was a major cockblock for thousands of libidinous service members who would rather be blind than go around wearing such a heinous pair of spectacles.
The Pentagon had progressively shifted to the smaller, black-rimmed 5A glasses over the last five years, harkening back to when want-to-be punk rockers worldwide used the eyeglasses to look cool. Those civilian punks who made black-rimmed glasses fashionable in the first place grew up, got jobs, and renewed the market for what looked to be pricey military-style BCGs around the same time the military abandoned the hideous S9s. (Source: Task and Purpose)
Why Did the Military Make These Glasses?
The first pair of BCGs were introduced during World War II. This was in the midst of frantic recruiting for the Allied campaigns in Europe and the Pacific, the Army accepted a large number of soldiers with poor vision.
According to Army Office of Medical History records, an officer named Lieutenant. Colonel. F. C. Tyng, who was commanding Fort McClellan in Alabama at the time, wrote in a June 5, 1941 letter that 75 men under his command had their glasses broken and couldn’t afford to buy new ones.
The Army determined that it would need to develop its glasses to address the issue, and the department initially solicited proposals from nine suppliers. The Army chose the American Optical Co. to deliver 200,000 pairs of glasses to needy soldiers after recognizing the difficulty of maintaining nine different vendor contracts.
However, after a few months, the company was unable to produce the quantity and quality required by soldiers, and the Army instead chose Bausch & Lomb Co. instead. The Army’s request was significantly lower than the actual need. In 1943, it was estimated that 250,000 pairs would be needed but a total of 2,250,000 pairs were made.
The first pair of Army glasses were made of metal, including nickel and silver. After the Second World War, the Army switched to silver cellulose acetate frames until 1968. Then switched to black cellulose acetate frames. The branch finally introduced the now-famous brown acetate S9 spectacles in the mid-1970s, which remained in service until 2012. (Source: Task and Purpose)