Received: Randolph Engineering Aviators

To me, the arrival of spring is the perfect time of year to pick up a pair of sunglasses for the warm, sunny summer months ahead. As I'm sure you're aware, there is no lack of options available. To suit my face shape, I decided to go with a slightly more square cut military issue aviator, made by Randolph Engineering.

The history and story of Randolph Engineering is quite inspiring; the company was formed on creating something from nothing. Today, Randolph Engineering is one of the last American made metal frame eyeglass company still in operation. They remain a private family business, as they were when they started out in 1972. RE has recently collaborated with Michael Bastian and maintains ongoing contracts with the US Military.

For my pair I decided to go with a classic 23k Gold plated frame, tan lenses and a bayonet temple, instead of the traditional skull option you typically see on an aviator. The bayonet temple was designed especially for military pilots as it holds the frames a little tighter to your head. RE offers a few different options for lenses which are all created for a distinct use, making it possible to buy your lens of choice. The tan lens tint is for people that need some contrast on overcast days and it also reduces the amount of glare. I've been wearing mine daily for the last few weeks and love them.

• Made in USA from the finest components found worldwide.
• lifetime-warranted solder joints
• Military Issued: HGU4/P, MIL-S-25948
• Mineral Crown Glass Lenses
• 98-100% UV Protection
• Adjustable Cushioned Silicon nose pads for Customized fit
• Tour of Duty: Vietnam, Desert Storm, Korea, and Kosovo

• Article & Photography by Darian Hocking
• Special Thanks to Mary Waszkiewicz, Rick Waszkiewicz & the Randolph Engineering Family.

Randolph Engineering

Reader Comments (6)

I had a great experience with the company. My several-years-old, Concordes were in the passenger seat of my Jeep when a good friend jumped in and sat on them. They did not break (pretty amazing), but as you can imagine the frames and temples got whacked out. I mailed them back to RE with a note to please readjust them back to their original alignment -- not really knowing what to expect from the company. Well, the company did not do it ... it sent me a brand new pair! At no charge! Another bonehead move has messed them up beyond repair, so I will soon be purchasing another pair. Really loved those classic, 23K gold, AGX lenses, but maybe I'll try some this time like the ones you purchased. They look great.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug B., Hou

These guys make great sunglasses. I love all the customized lenses, too.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermbchilton

Although I love my RE Pilots, I thought those that see this article should also know that American Optics also makes these mil spec sunglasses.

And they're a ton cheaper, but are indistinguishable in quality from the RE's (I own both).

The AO's are made in the good ol' USA (Pennsylvania to be exact).

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCerberus

Always classic.
The bayonet temple allows you to remove the glasses while wearing your flight helmet. If you know anyone in the USAF, these are about 25.00/pr at the big PX.

May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCMT

Randolph was actually started in 1984 and they are copies of the original military aviators. The actual original supplier to the military starting in 1958 was American Optical and they are still in business today.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhototristan

Thanks for the comment. I've spoken at length with both Mary and Rick Waszkiewicz, who are now the third generation running this family business. They let me know that RE was started in 1972, and began producing the Aviator in 1978. The original square Aviator was designed by the military.

"Randolph Engineering, Incorporated was founded in 1972 by Polish immigrants, Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zaleski. They met a decade before while working at a small tool & die company in South Boston. In pursuit of the American dream they ventured out to start their own business in Randolph, MA.The two entrepreneurs built tooling, dies and machinery for the then thriving US optical manufacturing industry. Through determination and a tireless work ethic Randolph Engineering became one of the leading optical tool & die companies in the country.
In the late 1970′s Randolph Engineering started manufacturing Mil-Spec Aviator sunglasses for the United States Air Force as a subcontractor producing in excess of 200,000 sunglasses annually. Led by Jan’s sons, Randolph won the government bid to become the prime contractor in 1982. By the late 1980′s Randolph had expanded into the commercial sunglass market after civilians learned about the quality of its sunglasses and prescription frames through military channels."

June 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarian Hocking

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>