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American Optical: Tradition from the iconic style

For more than 150 years, American Optical it has been dedicated to making eyewear more stylish, functional and affordable. This company represents the most historic optical company in America, and over the years the team behind AO Eyewear has broken the mold, shaping the look of modern eyewear and creating some of the most iconic designs in history. AO's relaunched collection draws inspiration from its legendary history and the milestones that preceded it.

Since its founding in 1833, American Optical it has established itself as a world leader in the optical industry. Over the years, the company has grown to become the largest optical company in the world, employing 800 people who produce 2 million pairs of glasses and 3 million lenses. From the earliest stages, founder William Beecher had a belief that he could make better eyeglasses than anyone else in the world, and so he began manufacturing silver eyeglasses. In 1843, Beecher was the first in the United States to make eyeglasses from non-precious metal, using thin steel wire, thus reducing the cost of eyeglasses and making them affordable to the masses.

American Optical continued to make patented technological advances, making eyeglasses affordable for the masses. Beecher's goal of making eyeglasses affordable for American workers was achieved through AO, and by 1872 the company provided affordable prescription eyeglasses to a wide audience.

Discover the Pilot model →

Another milestone in the history of American Optical was the supply of flight goggles to the U.S. Army during World War I in 1917. AO set up mobile field units to examine soldiers' eyes and supply them with frames and lenses. Later, AO became the first company to supply flight goggles to U.S. military pilots, a design that evolved into the iconic Aviator sunglasses.

During World War II, AO supplied more than 5 million eyeglasses and 10 million sunglasses to the U.S. military. AO eyewear was worn by such important military figures as Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower and General Mark Clark.

In addition to its history in the military, AO has also made its mark in the entertainment industry. AO glasses have been worn by celebrities such as John F. Kennedy, Robert De Niro, and Paul Newman, who have made them famous on the silver screen. AO's Original Pilot™ has become the model of choice for U.S. military pilots since 1958 and continues to be a best.

Discover all models → 0525/90460


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