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Old Joe and COVID-19

Wow, this year has certainly gotten off on the wrong foot!

According to USA Today on 3-8-2022 the cost of gas at the pump is the highest in US history, even breaking the 2008 record!

Shades of Jimmy Carter without the gas lines!

Have all our leaders lost their collective minds?

Putin invades the Ukraine just because he wants to, Joe Biden decides to get rid of fossil fuels and those pay raises disappear into thin air!

No wonder that food, gasoline, and everyday goods are more becoming expensive quicker than any time since 2008!

Just as the rules and mandates brought on by the pandemic are relaxed and the possibility of vacations loom on the horizon, we are faced with this issue.

Soon mask mandates on airplanes will be lifted, the dream of having a nice vacation seems close at hand only to be crushed by the rise in fuel costs! And yet 75% of Americans still plan to take a summer vacation.

As we get ready to pack up for that vacation we can't find our sunglasses and need them for this trip.

The State of American Made Sunglasses

Effective March 1st both AO Eyewear and Randolph Engineering raised their prices in response to the ongoing inflation along with all the other major brands.

AO raised their prices by approximately 9.25% while Randolph raised their prices by over 18%!

Man, this makes vacations even more expensive!

But we are all faced with the fact that everything from raw materials, transportation and production costs to delivery to customers has been affected by the cost of fuel.

Gone are the days when we could pick up a pair of AOs in the PX for $ 20 a pop. Ah…, the good old days!

So, what (if anything) can be done about that?

The Aviator Sunglasses Difference

Early sunglasses were often circular in shape and designed to fit close to the eye socket and attached to the ears by wire which went back to and over the ears, down the backside and forward under the ear lobe.

They worked great for keeping the sunglasses on your head, but patently uncomfortable.

Along comes World War II, the US is building airplanes like mad, and pilots are being trained in large groups.

As these new aircraft flew higher and further protecting the crew member's eyes became more important than ever.

At altitude the crew were higher in the atmosphere where the sun's rays were stronger and stronger, so sunglasses were essential to protect their eyes.

Enter aviator sunglasses which not only solved the problem for air crews, but became very popular with the general public.

Aviator sunglasses took the country by storm after the photo of Douglas MacArthur wearing them appeared in newspapers around the world.

Most of us who are older remember those tear-drop shapped sunglasses issued to pilots in WWII.

World War II pilot wearing tear drop shaped sunglasses.

The idea was to provide more coverage over the eye socket by dipping down below the pilot's cheek. That's why they were tear-drop shaped.

But, as with all things, technology brought change.

The Sound Barrier

At the age of 24 Chuck Yeager climbed into the X-1 which was then attached to the bomb bay of a B-29, carried to 25,000 feet where it was cast off like an unwanted fly, lit the rocket engine, climbed to 40,000 feet and at 662 mph broke the sound barrier for the first time!

Chuck Yeager with the Bell X-1 named "GLAMOURS GLENNIS" after his wife.

Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier and history is made!

As faster and more manueverable military aircraft came into existence helmets to protect the pilot's head became a very important part of the pilot's flight equipment.

Sunglasses were still important for protecting a pilot's eyes but the tear-drop shape wouldn't work in a helmet - they were too big!

In addition, it was a pain in the a** to take the sunglasses off and on, so something had to change.

The American Optical Company came up with a new design called the "Original Pilot" sunglasses with bayonet temples and a more rectangular shape.

Problem solved!

Military Helmets

 It turned out that the tear-drop design wouldn't fit when the pilot wore a helmet with a visor.

The hinges on the tear-drop frame would rub against the visor and were tough to remove and replace.

But, the rectangular version worked just fine. Today, the Original Pilot design is the most popular military sunglass, not only for pilots but sunglass aficienados as well.

Thanks For Reading

John M White a/k/a JetAviator7 at Aviator Sunglasses - Your source for all Randolph Engineering Parts

 ps: Please share "Old Joe and Covid-19" on your social media sites.

 

 

 

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