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Aviator Sunglasses That Compliment Your Lifestyle

Aviator Sunglasses To Compliment Your Lifestyle

Aviator sunglasses are standard issue to today’s active duty airmen, and have become an essential fashion accessory among civilians who want to incorporate a bit of that Right Stuff bravado in their personal style. Ageless in their design, young and old alike love the stylish look no matter what clothing they choose to wear.

With such a bewildering range of styles, tints, frames, labels and prices it can be difficult to know what the best choice for you should be.

We can help.

Whether you need to figure out the right style, the correct size, or the best lens tint for your needs, we can help. Whatever your question we are here to help and guide you carefully through a fun and safe buying process.

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The History of Aviator Sunglasses

Aviator sunglasses are one of the most sought after, trendy and important fashion accessories to have for everyday use.

A little history may help.

There is some confusion regarding the birth of aviator sunglasses, and we are going to correct the record right here. All around the internet you will find articles claiming that the original aviator sunglasses were Ray-Bans, introduced in 1937, and made popular by silver screen stars.

But, they are wrong!

The earliest form of sunglasses were made by the American Optical Company (c. 1876) with a variety of tinted lenses in blue, smoke, pink, and amber shades.

It was in 1913 when American Optical secured the rights to Crookes glasses (invented by eminent British scientist Sir William Crookes) and that the study of Ultra-Violet protection became an exact science.  The Crookes glasses sold then were either clear lenses or various darker shades, obviously for extended outdoor usage.

Persol Protector SunglassesIn Turin, Italy in 1917 in a small courtyard in Via Caboto where photographer and optician Giuseppe Ratti began to make technically advanced glasses designed to meet the needs of pilots and sports car drivers who required comfort, protection and optimum vision.

Thus Protector glasses were born. They had round smoked lenses with rubber edges and were attached to the head with elastic bands. Soon they were adopted by early military aviators and pilots in the Italian Military Aviation units.

 Intuition, ingenuity, innovation and quality made Protector aviator glasses the choice of several air forces around the world, including the Army Air Corp in the United States.

Protector glasses received notice when Major Gabriele d’Annunzio (for whom a model was made to measure) and Captain Natale Palli wore them on their historic flight over Vienna on 9 August 1918, as well as from Francesco De Pinedo on his transatlantic flight that lasted some 193 hours!

During this period they were worn by numerous flying, driving and motorcycling aces including D’AnnunzioDe Pinedo, Ferrarin, Chiron, Nazzaro, Fangio, Opessi, Bolognini and Ghersi to name but a few of their most famous users.

As the popularity of the Protector aviator glasses grew Ratti formed Persol  which remains to this day as an Italian luxury eyewear company. The name Persol is derived from “per il sole”, which in Italian means “for the sun”.

By 1917 the U.S. government had identified Bausch & Lomb as the only American company capable of producing sufficiently high quality glass for lenses in significant quantities.

At the same time the American Optical Company was chosen to design and build 8 mobile optical units to support U.S. troops and Allied Forces in Europe with frames to hold the Bausch & Lomb lenses along with the machinery for the fitting, filling and distribution of prescription glasses and sunglasses.

There were a record 2 ½ million glasses and sunglasses were furnished to the U.S. Government for the WWI effort.

In 1924 Protector obtained the first of 14 international patents. Composed of 41 parts requiring 43 different assembly procedures, Protector glasses were also adopted by the Swiss Military Department in 1927 after careful analysis.

Subsequent development of the Protector model, guided by an intuition and determination to create truly revolutionary sunglasses in terms of quality and ease of wearing, led to the creation of the Persol trademark (Persol from “per il sole” meaning “for the sun”, highlighting their function of protection against the sun’s rays).






In the 1970s American Optical introduced the current rectangular shape commonly seen on military pilots. But the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was more concerned about performance than style, and established the Mil Spec 25948 standard for the ideal military aviator sunglasses for pilots. Also known as the HGU-4/P, the DoD wanted aviator sunglasses that would enhance target acquistion by 6.5-11%, have a VLT of 15% (plus or minus 2%), and a minimum visual acuity of 90%. Since 1978 Randolph Engineering from Randolph, MA has been providing military aviator sunglasses to the DoD, and since 1982 they have been the prime contractor for aviator sunglasses issued to U.S. military pilots. Whether you are a civilian pilot, military pilot or just like aviator sunglasses, you will find a great selection of brands and styles one of which will be perfect for you.


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