Original U.S. Pre-WWII Duro-Glas M38 Tank Google by New York Eye Protection Company

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. These are mint condition M38 Tank Goggles that were made sometime between WWI and WWII. They are offered with the original box in excellent condition. The only issue is that the step has broken and been tied together. Otherwise these are mint examples of an iconic google that was also used for aviation. The history o f this style goggle is best explained by the wonder historical author Peter Succio on his website an excerpt of which can be found below.

After its precipitous entry into WWI in April 1917 the United States expedited the equipping and mobilization of her military by adopting several items of proven Allied equipment; most famously the British Brodie helmet. Special Regulations No.41, was issued 15 August 1917, in which it was stipulated that for the Army Air Arm, then part of the Signal Corps, the ‘improved type of Triplex goggles’ would be used by all aviators, motorcycle messengers and chauffeurs; the individual could choose clear or amber coloured Triplex lenses as required. At that time U.S. manufactures were tending to produce typical pre-war goggle types and laminated glass was not officially in production.

In an understandable effort to achieve self-sufficiency U.S. manufactures immediately began to produce similar goggles to the British Triplex design; as is well documented in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection details. Most notable being the American Optical (Wellsworth Aviglas); H. Buegeleisen (Resistal) and New York Eye Protection (Lamoglas) companies. The Aviglas version seems to have appeared first being patented 22nd Jan. 1918, it used toughened optical, not laminated, glass. It became a private purchase item, and was not adopted by the Government until 1919, perhaps because of the lens material. They came in clear and a yellow ‘Noviol’ (no violet) version. The U.S. Bureau of Standards tested Resistal’s laminated glass ‘Eyetects’ lenses in March and May 1918; leading to their supply to Navy Aviators and, after ophthalmic tests, the ‘new’ Resistal NAK model was recommended to the Army by the U.S. Medical Research Laboratory on 20 Jun. 1918.

These developments may have prompted H. Newbold to lodge a U.S. patent application 15th Jul, 1918, the patent was granted 18th Feb., 1919. The U.S. versions were not identical however, and it is not known if any recompense ever came to Triplex Safety Glass Co. Ltd as a result.

Limited numbers of American ‘Newbold types’ got to the Western Front in the last year of the war, with many U.S. aviators having to wear earlier U.S. types (including the pre-Newbold, 1917 ‘Eyetects’ etc), RAF Triplex models or French Meyrowitz-Luxor type goggles etc. They were, however, used extensively as aviation goggles post war and through the 1920’s by both military and civilian pilots (Lindbergh wore Resistal’s across the Atlantic in 1927). They were especially popular amongst the U.S. Air Mail pilots.

Although 1918 Resistal NAK and Aviglas goggles were phased out by the military in the late 1920’s NAK’s could still be bought as private purchase equipment from such vendors as Karl Ort up until 1941. They continued to be popular especially amongst fighter pilots who objected to the distortion caused by the curved glass of the official replacements.

Although the Smithsonian Institution states the American Optical Aviglas version was copied from a British design, they are interesting as they seem to be a highbred of German frame shape, but with a Newbold like hinge; but using long screws rather than pins, a feature carried through on many later AO designs.

From Air to Armour

In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s the technologies to produce curved laminated and toughened glass; and non-flammable; scratch resistant bendable plastics were perfected. With the increased field of view possible with curved lenses ‘Newbolds’ and other flat glass goggles became less common in the air. (Although by mid-WWII flat lenses were back as split lens RAF Mk IV to VIII (still available today) and plastic U.S. B8 (the ancestor of most modern tactical goggles) etc, due to the intrinsic distortion caused by curved lenses).

Although generally retired from the air, in 1930 the Japanese ‘Newbolds’ were modified and adopted as the IJA’s official Tank Goggles. In Britain at about the same time a grey version of the venerable ‘Featherweight’ became the standard ‘General Purpose’ Tank, Transport and Dispatch Rider goggle.

In 1938 the Resistal N.M.R. version (with a sponge rubber face pad) was adopted by the U.S. Army as the M38 tank and motorcycle goggle. With lend-lease etc. it became a widely worn piece of Allied equipment. M38s can be identified by always having the rubber face pad covering the rear hinge area, (if this area is open it is the cheaper commercial R.A.V. model); M38s were never fur lined. Military issue Resistals tended to have unmarked, leather or leatherette tags; good quality gold embossed leather tags are probably pre-war commercial examples and completely metal strap attachment points, pinched to the wire frame, are probably post-war. The frames were always marked ‘Resistal, H.B. NY’ (Harry Buegeleisen Co. New York) on the top of both frames.
Figure 14. Top Twelve years on from their introduction Goggle Masks still being worn at RAF Kenley in 1928. Bottom, rare British 1920s research and development.


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