The American Made Aviator - Randolph Engineering

Some things never go out of style. American made and fine tuned for the American military, its the Classic Randolph Engineering Aviator. Dont confuse them with American Optical, which isn't made quite as close to home. 7 styles and 17 tints (way more than you need, unless hunting or flying jets)

Randolph Engineering (RE for short) has been making sunglasses for the U.S. military since its founding by engineers Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zalesk in 1972. When the company first started it focused on supplying American eyewear manufactures with the tools and machinery of the trade. Then, in 1982, RE started producing glasses under it's own name and eventually it became the primary contractor for military-style aviation flight glasses to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company still supplies the military with a variety of glasses which are the second most iconic style of military eyewear. Navy pilots and Army helicopter pilots both wear their matte chrome 52mm Aviators.   - GQ

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The Sound of Sight from Randolph Engineering on Vimeo.




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4 Responses

Pat
Pat

August 29, 2012

I don’t know how far Southbridge MA is from America, but last time I checked it was pretty darn close.

Randolph makes quality sunglasses, let’s not confuse that with history. The authentic 58’s (the ones that went to the moon, and that sit in the Smithsonian) are AO’s.

http://www.aoeyewear.com/documents/history.html

Boris
Boris

July 04, 2012

As Frank said American Optical are also made in the US. It is important to note that AO is the designer of the squared aviator sunglasses that we see here and were known as Flight Goggle 58 when they were originally made in 1958.

When the movies above were produced Randolph Engineering already existed, but for historical accuracy Mad Men is set in the 1960s (with season 5 taking place in ‘66-’67). Apocalypse Now is a film about the Vietnam War (‘55-’75). In the movie the Manson trial suggests that the story is set around 1970; at that time American Optical was the eye-wear supplier for the U.S. military (and the only company producing these sunglasses). As you said RE was founded in 1972, therefore Hamm’s character Don Draper and Duvall’s character Lt Col William Kilgore would actually be wearing AO sunglasses at the time.

However, this are just deductions. Do you have any reliable sources proving that Duvall, De Niro or Hamm, during production/filming, are wearing RE and not AO?

Boris
Boris

July 04, 2012

I did some research and as you have written above it was in 1982 that Randolph Engineering started producing sunglasses under it’s own name. Before that they designed and built tools and machinery for the optical manufacturing industry. Taxi Driver was filmed in 1975 and released in February 1976. Apocalypse Now had a troubled production and shooting lasted between the late 1975 and 1977; the movie was released in August 1979. RE was not making sunglasses at the time, so De Niro and Duvall are definitely not wearing RE.

As American Optical was, for as much as we know, the only manufacturer of these sunglasses and they were popular at the time (especially within the U.S. military) then the two aforementioned actors must be wearing Ao.

Your description in the pictures above is false.

Frank
Frank

June 26, 2012

American optical sunglasses are also made in the US, and have been for much longer than RE.

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