Featured Aviator Sunglasses
AO Eyewear Sunglasses
Randolph Engineering Sunglasses
It’s the early 1930′s new airplanes were being designed almost every day, and the performance of these airplanes rapidly improved for speed, altitude and range. Most of the pilots flying these new machines were military pilots who found themselves flying higher and higher and discovered the adverse effects of bright sunlight to their ability to see and fight.
The U.S. Army Air Corp determined that it was necessary to provide pilots with good eye protection to reduce glare and enable pilots to see other aircraft clearly. Bausch & Lomb were contracted with to manufacture the first aviator sunglasses – flight goggles with colored lenses. Quickly they realized that lenses with a green tint provided the best visual acuity for pilots.
Recognizing the value of these flight goggles Bausch & Lomb decided that there was a consumer market so they designed the first aviator sunglasses for consumers called “Ray Ban” sunglasses. The name was chosen because the purpose of these early sunglasses was to block (ban) light rays from the sun.
By this time many film actors were seen wearing large aviator style sunglasses because their eyes would hurt after spending many hours on the set under strong arc lamps. As they were seen out in public wearing these original aviator sunglasses many consumers liked the look and wanted to wear them as a fashion statement.
With the onset of World War II the U.S. Army Air Corp expanded to thousands of aircraft and trained pilots to fly all of these aircraft. The Air Corp quickly recognized the need for sunglasses for pilots and contracted with companies like AO Eyewear to manufacture aviator style sunglasses for their pilots. The first aviator sunglasses had tear drop shaped lenses and that familiar green tint which is known now as AGX lenses.
Soon the shape of the lens began to change into a more square shape to provide more eye socket coverage and provide better protection. The first of what are now known as aviator sunglasses were manufactured by the American Optical Company, now known as AO Eyewear.
AO Eyewear Original Pilot Sunglasses were issued to military pilots up until 1977 when Randolph Engineering became the primary supplier of aviator sunglasses to the U.S. Military. AO Original Pilot sunglasses were the first to fly to the moon, and some of them are on display at the National Air & Space Museum.
It is an interesting side note that the founders of Randolph Engineering, Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zaleski, began their careers in the optical industry by working for American Optical Company until 1972 when they founded Randolph Engineering.
When it comes to classic aviator sunglasses there are a number of excellent choices available. If you are price conscious then the AO Eyewear original pilot sunglasses are a good choice, but for top of the line aviator sunglasses then Randolph Engineering are a great choice.
Always remember that if you are a pilot then non-polarized aviator sunglasses are what you want; however, if you are an adventurer who likes to climb mountains or trek through the desert then a great pair of polarized sunglasses work best.
For the adventurer who needs adequate side protection from the bright sunlight the Randolph Engineering Raptor sunglasses are a great choice.
If you drive a lot then consider a pair of Serengeti aviator sunglasses with the driver gradient photochromic lenses work really well. Just remember, though, if you want to use any device with an LCD display like a tablet or cell phone you need non-polarized lenses.