Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: AO Original Pilot Sunglasses And The Moon

AO Original Pilot Sunglasses And The Moon

August 4, 1969

On July 20th, 1969 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin becomes the first man to step foot on the moon.

For those of us old enough we remember those first words from the moon:

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

History is made!

So, what is the importance of August 4th, 1969?

The Travel Voucher

If you don't know it yet, the U.S. Government is a giant bureaucracy today, and even in 1969 the bureaucracy existed.

This means every little detaill needs to be recorded for the penny counters!

I have no idea which genius came up with a charge of $ 33.31 for a round trip from Houston, TX to the Moon and back, but they did!

I wonder if Buzz Aldrin really did get a check for $ 33.31 from Uncle Sam?

A photo Buzz Aldrin on the Moon July 20, 1969 wearing AO American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses, the original square aviator sunglasses

 American Optical Sunglasses

To protect his eyes from harmful uv radiation and extremely bright sunlight NASA issued him pair of AO Original Pilot sunglasses to protect his eyes!

While you can't see them in the image above, believe me he was wearing them.

Below is an image of Gordon Cooper and  Pete Conrad after returing from a week in outer space:

Those sunglasses are American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses!

AO Eyewear, Inc.

The fledgling U.S. Army Air Corps soon learned that it needed to protect it's aviator's eyes from the harmful effects of extremely bright sunlight at altitude.

To solve this problem they called upon an old, well established eyewear manufacturer in Massachusetts by the name of American Optical, Inc.

The company had a reputation for manufacturing comfortable, durable and great performing flight goggles and sunglasses.

So it was called upon to manufacture some very special sunglasses to be worn by astronauts on their journey to the moon and become the first sunglasses to the moon.

NASA selected the American Optical Original Pilot sunglasses for their crews.

American Optical Becomes AO Eyewear, Inc.

When The American Optical Company was broken up to maximize the investment of the new owners a new company was formed to manufacture just the sunglasses.

The company remained in Southbridge, MA, just down the road from the huge American Optical complex which has been turned into a number of different facilities.

There are offices in that complex, a hotel, a convention center and more.

The new company, AO Eyewear, continued manufacturing their sunglasses in China.

But as so often happens quality control became a problem.

To solve this problem, in 2015, AO Eyewear began manufacturing right there in Southbridge, and the quality really improved.

Get Your Very Own AO Original Pilot Sunglasses!

You can get a pair of the first sunglasses just like the ones flown to the moon here on our website at "American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses".

In the meantime, keep your eyes safe and focused on what's ahead of you Hersch!

John M White a/k/a JetAviator7, the founder, owner and operator of Pilot Supplies & Sunglasses LLC and it's website at is a Veteran owned and operated business selling Made in the USA sunglasses for veterans, pilots and fashionistas

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.

Read more

Randolph SKYTEC™ mineral glass lenses for Randolph Aviator, Aviator II and Concorde sunglasses for men and women. These are the same lenses as issued to US DoD pilots and military personnel.
glass sunglass lenses

Randolph SKYTEC™ Lens Technology

Over the years I have noticed that many Customers prefer glass lenses to any others, and I can understand why that is. Randolph uses crown mineral glass for it's SKYTEC™ lenses. SKYTEC™ lenses are ...

Read more
The Randolph Replacement Lens Wars
Randolph Lenses

The Randolph Replacement Lens Wars

In every market there will be competitors, and replacement lenses are no exception. One of the things I work hardest at is to provide you with the very best replacement parts for those precious Ran...

Read more