B&L Bausch & Lomb AN 6531 Type II World War II Aviator Shooter Sunglasses

1 Early Bausch & Lomb AN6531 Type II shooter sunglasses are one of the earliest styles of Ray-Ban aviators ever made c late 1930s/ 1940s, issued to Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aviators as flying sunglasses in the years leading up to and during World War II . They have bakelite nose pads, an early bakelite "General" bar, very early B&L Shade 2 Tru Green anti-glare lenses, and outdoorsman cable shooter ear stems for a secure fit. This is an early B&L silver aviator frame which really stands out from the later year dominance of gold plating, and it is marked Bausch & Lomb impressed in the metal below the nose bridge with nary a mention of the Ray-Ban brand adopted much later. Originally designed in the mid 1930s, these sunglasses were developed by the Air Force to accommodate pilots who were constantly looking down at their instrument panel while in flight, and this necessity gave birth to the teardrop "aviator" shape lens. Bausch and Lomb was one of the few companies to be contracted by the US government along with American Optical to create these glasses, and B&L then incorporated the new design to create the Ray Ban line of sunglasses. As such, these AN-6531 sunglasses are considered the 1st generation of Bausch and Lomb aviator sunglasses and the origin of the Ray Ban line of aviator sunglasses we still see today. These early B&L Bausch & Lomb AN 6531 aviator shooters measure approximately 5.375" temple to temple with B&L mineral glass lenses that measure approximately 2.25" x 1.875" at the widest points with the bottom of the nose bar impressed Bausch & Lomb. It's hard to mistake these c late 1930s / early 1940s Bausch & Lomb aviators for the gold plated, more teardrop shaped aviators to come, and those in the know will recognize the style of the very earliest specialized aviator pilot sunglasses ever produced. See the original Bausch & Lomb catalogue listing for these AN6531 sunglasses here, part of a significant Austin, Texas collection of rare vintage Ray-Bans. Very rare.

Item VS234-1 / Price: $485.00

2 Identical in appearance but even earlier production, Bausch & Lomb made their very first AN 6531 aviators of this style marked with their Ful Vue label used previously as they got their start making safety glasses and goggles. They are identical in appearance to #1 above but are marked under the nose bridge B&L Ful Vue impressed in the metal and including the original case.

Item VS234-2 / Price: SOLD

3 American Optical (AO) also produced the AN6531 aviator for the US military under license from Bausch & Lomb, diversifying production to meet unprecedented demand during the war years. Military aficionados actively debate whether early military issue B&L or AO aviators were of higher quality, but after 20 years of selling rare vintage sunglasses we think we can confidently state they are equivalent in all ways. These are the early AO AN6531 aviator shooters identical in size, shape, and appearance to the Bausch & Lomb production pictured below. Rare.

Item VS234-3 / Price: $485.00

4 Rochester Optical Company has been in operation for over 85 years as a maker of military eyewear, and ROC also produced the iconic AN6531 aviators for the US military during the years of World War II joining American Optical and Bausch & Lomb as the government's core providers. These are the early ROC AN6531 aviator shooters are impressed R.O.C. under the nose bridge and are identical in size, shape, and appearance to the Bausch & Lomb and American Optical production of the AN6531. Rare.

Item VS234-4 / Price: $485.00


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