John White

Forevever Aviators

Mar 6, 2021

Who among us doesn't remember the first astronauts?

And, who doesn't remember July 20, 1979 when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon for the first time?

We all watched breathlessly on tv not knowing what would happen next.

Much to our delight all went well, and everyone was safe and safely completed the journey to the moon and back!

What a moment in history!

During my flying history I have always worn sunglasses, and over the years have tried all kinds of sunglasses, but return to the same old two standars: AO Original Pilots and Randolph Aviators.

Many people believe that the sunglasses worn by the astronauts to the moon wer Randolphs, but they would be wrong.

The truth is that the American Optical Company sunglass division provided Original Pilot sunglasses as standard issue for the astronauts.

AO Original PIlot Sunglasses and Carrying Pouch for Neil Armstrong

Randolph didn't really enter the sunglasses business until 1978 when Randolph Engineering decided to compete with AO for DoD business.

And, they were successful, in part because the stockholders of American Optical Company had decided to split the company up and sell off all of it's divisions.

One of the more interesting things is that the original founders of Randolph Engineering began their engineering careers working for the American Optical Company in Southbridge, MA.

They decided they could improve the product using their own engineering skills and started Randolph Engineering in 1973.

Today the AO Sunglasses division has been sold to Eruopa, a glasses frame manufacturer in Vernon Hills, IL. They have returned to the original AO logos ad style, and reintroduced the Saratoga style worn by JFK.

Randolph, on the other hand, has since 1978 been the supplier of sunglasses to the US military and other military operations around the world.

If you are interested in quality sunglasses check both styles out and enjoy first class vision and rugged sunglasses.

Randolph Engineeering vs American Optical AO sunglasses




Link to share

Use this link to share this article