Whether it’s Cary Grant hiding in plain sight in the dining car of the 20th Century Limited, Kurt Vonnegut icognito in the cocktail lounge of the Midland City Holiday Inn or the Man with no Eyes menacing in aviators in Cool Hand Luke, sunglasses are the quintessence of stylish cool.
At a time when Luxottica controls more than 80 percent of the world’s eyewear companies, it’s refreshing to know that a domestic company, Randolph Engineering, continues to produce some of the finest sunglasses around. As the company notes on its website:
We offer the world’s finest eyeware (sic), handcrafted in THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA using the finest components found worldwide and proudly noted as standard military issued.
The company was founded in 1972 by a tandem of Polish immigrants, Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zlaeski. Originally, they produced the machinery to make eyewear. By 1977, the company was producing sunglasses for the U.S. military, and by the early 90s, it had expanded into the consumer marketplace.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of getting a pair for Father’s Day (thank you, children!). They’re the Concorde model with chrome frames and grey polarized lenses. They’re a remarkably well-made product–as befits a company with the word engineering in its name.