E A A ’ S attic
Eyes for the Skies
Protecting one’s eyes from wind, cold air, oil, and flying
particles in the early days of aviation was challenging.
Pilots often wore what was available—automobile
and motorcycle goggles—but the glass lenses often
shattered. As aviation grew, so did goggles offerings, with
improvements in safety, comfort, visibility, and fashion.
The foldable goggles (center) are believed to be
Resistal goggles circa 1919, manufactured by Strauss &
Buegeleisen. The family of longtime aviator and EAA
member Jim Barton donated them and the case to EAA
after Jim’s passing in 1997.
E.B. Meyrowitz Inc. became famous after Charles
Lindbergh wore a pair of its goggles during his nonstop
trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. Shown below at right is
the Luxor “King of the Air” model with its sleek silver
By 1945, military pilots strapped this standard
Type B- 8 model (left) around their helmet and oxygen
mask when needed. Manufactured by the Rochester
Optical Manufacturing Co., these goggles came with
interchangeable cellulose acetate-colored lenses, including
amber to increase contrast on hazy, dull days and green to
absorb muted sunshine and glare.
Vintage goggles, especially ones worn by notable pilots,
have become high-end collectables. In early October
2009, the goggles Amelia Earhart wore during her 1932
solo trans-Atlantic flight fetched $141,600 at auction.
––Kathleen L. Witman
112 NOVEMBER 2009