Why The Love Of Aviator Sunglasses?
Just before I sat down to write this blog post I read something you might find interesting.
A new friend gave me a book titled “Flight Log” by Larry R. Houghton to read, and it is written about his experience as a young boy fascinated with airplanes.
The author liked watching airplanes fly in and out of Alma, Michigan back in 1947, and in Chapter 2 the author writes:
“Oh, how I loved to watch a taildragger take off and land.
Though the airplane is at the far end of the runway when it starts its takeoff roll, I see the cloud of dust the propeller kicks up as the pilot gives it full throttle. The little craft slowly gathers speed as it accelerates toward my end of the field. Sometimes the sun glints off the windshield when the pilot kicks a rudder pedal to keep the craft on a straight line. Most of the planes I watch leave the ground after using about half the runway. This one does too.
First the tail rises until the plane is level, picking up more speed until the bird breaks from the earth’s pull and lifts off. The pilot is in a different element now. By the time he is abreast of my location, the craft is a hundred feet off the ground. The late afternoon sun reflects off the windshield. Its wooden propeller whirls in a blurring circle and pulls the plane ever higher into the sky. I clearly see the pilot through the side window.
Sometimes he looks down at me but most of the time he is too busy at the controls to look my way. He always wears aviator sunglasses. I love aviator sunglasses to this day. They rank right up there with leather flying jackets and silk scarves, all a part of a really cool pilot’s uniform.”
My Love Of Aviation
I remeber going to the Monroe County Fair as a young boy (sometime around 1949-1950) and there was a V-Tailed Beech Bonanza someone had placed on a rotating platform.
I recall the red tail beacon on the airplane was on, and I just stood there fascinated. A man came over to talk to my father and I, and I recall he had on a pair of those tear-drop shaped aviator sunglasses.
I was awe struck!
I never forgot that experience, and from that point on it was all "Sky King" and "Flying With Arthur Godfrey".
And this is why today I am still involved with aviator sunglasses!
The Randolph Sunglass Difference
What makes Randolph sunglasses different than other sunglasses?
Are Randolph sunglasses really worth the money?
Why buy a pair of Randolph sunglasses over a pair of AO Eyewear sunglasses?
These, and many more questions I hear every day as I speak to visitors to our website at Aviator Sunglasses.
Perhaps a little background on me would help. My name is John M. White, otherwise known as JetAviator7. Yes, I am a pilot and that is what lead me eventually to selling high quality Made in the USA sunglasses.
In addition, I have always been a “Buy American” kind of guy all my life. That is why I like selling AO and Randolph sunglasses as opposed to all those other brands manufactured mainly in China.
I have been an Authorized Dealer for both Randolph Engineering, Inc. and AO Eyewear, Inc. for over 20 years, so I get that question about these sunglasses all the time.
And to be truthful, sometimes it is tough to be impartial.
AO Eyewear Sunglasses
My first introduction to the modern aviator style of sunglasses was the AO Original Pilot.
AO sunglasses were manufactured by the American Optical Company until the company was broken up and sold in parts to increase shareholder value.
Those sunglasses were standard issue to military pilots and NASA astronauts for many years, up through 1981.
I served in the USAF from 1959 until 1965 as a Russian Linguist, and during that time I learned to fly at one of the bases I was assigned to.
During those early years AO was the primary supplier of aviator sunglasses to the USAF, and we could purchase a pair of those sunglasses in the local PX.
They cost around $ 20 back then, but not today!
When American Optical was broken up the then President of American Optical bought the sunglasses division and called it AO Eyewear, Inc.
Today AO Eyewear is owned by Europa Eyewear in Illinois.
Randolph Aviator Sunglasses Difference
The company was started by two friends who grew up in Poland before WWII, and during the Great War served in the British Air force fighting the Germans.
After the war the came to the United States, and after getting their engineering degrees in Boston they went to work for the American Optical Company.
In 1973 these two immigrants decided they could build better sunglasses than the American Optical Company and embarked on a journey to manufacture the finest aviator eyewear.
In 1982 Randolph became the primary contractor for military-style aviation sunglasses for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Over the years Randolph sunglasses have evolved into not just military style sunglasses, but fashion sunglasses as well.
I have visited both the AO and Randolph factories, and I can tell you that the Randolph factory is larger and better layed out than the AO factory.
While AO has worked hard to improve it's product, Randolph Engineering still sets the standard for military style sunglasses.
One of the things that really sets Randolph sunglasses apart is the fact that you can get parts for the sunglasses.
- Randolph Replacement Temples
- Randolph Replacement Lenses
- Randolph Prescription Frames
- Randolph Replacement Nose Pads
- Randolph Replacement Carrying Cases
- Randolph Replacement Microfiber Cloths
And many more.
This is the reason I feel Randolph sunglasses are the very best American Made sunglasses.
Keep Your Wings Straight and Level Hersch!
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