John White

Genuine AO Aviator Sunglasses

Jan 8, 2021

AO Aviator Sunglasses

AO Aviator sunglasses have a long history dating back to 1833. William Beecher decided he could make better glasses frames than those imported from Europe. Those efforts lead to the American Optical Company in Southbridge, MA.

The sunglasses division is now known as AO Eyewear, Inc. and is a subsidiary of Europa. Europa is a manufacturer of eye and sunglass frames located in Vernon Hills, IL.

Original Pilot Sunglasses

The AO Original Pilot sunglasses are part of the Flight Gear collection of sunglasses sold by AO.

In the past 6 months AO decided to return the design of their sunglasses to more align with the design of the vintage American Optical sunglasses.

The first change made was to return to the original AO logo:

The Original 1930's AO Logo


Here is how it appears on the new AO website:

AO Flight Gear Sunglasses

Air Force Pilot Sunglasses

AO General and Original Pilot sunglasses were standard issue to US military personnel until 1972 when the DoD (Department of Defense) changed suppliers to Randolph Engineering.

There were millions of these sunglasses issued, and many more were purchased in BX (Base Exchange) stores over the years.

Today I am contacted by many of these veterans who are looking for a new pair of sunglasses, or parts to update their original sunglasses.

Unfortunately, parts are difficult to come by. The newer variations look different than the originals with the old logo imprinted on the temples (the arms that go back over your ears). Because the new owner now manufactures the frames parts would probably not fit the old sunglasses.

The New Original Pilots

The new American Optical Original Pilot sunglasses now use better materials, but AO continues to use crown mineral glass lenses and nylon lenses in their updated versions.

With the improvements in quality costs have increased and as a result so have the prices.

You can find them here on our website: AO Sunglasses

Save Your Eyes With Great Sunglasses!

AO Sunglasses at


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