Got your eclipse glasses yet?
The USA's solar eclipse is only a few weeks away, and demand for the special glasses — which allow you to safely view the event — is fast and furious.
American Paper Optics in Bartlett, Tenn., the company that produces the most eclipse glasses, is working speedily to churn them out. "The demand has been amazing and scary," company president John Jerit said.
So far, the company has produced about 37 million glasses and is shipping out as many as 500,000 each day. The company had hoped to make 100 million of the glasses.
While that sounds like a lot, the company has produced as many as 134 million glasses for a 2010 Super Bowl promotion.
Chances are the eclipse glasses you've ordered (or plan to order) were made by the company, which has created thousands of custom bulk orders for groups and organizations across the nation.
Clients include NASA, Walmart, Lowes, ToysRUs and Home Depot. They've also supplied about 10 million to Amazon, Jerit said.
If you do buy eclipse glasses, be sure that they are made by one of the five companies the American Astronomical Society and NASA has certified as safe for use: In addition to American Paper Optics, others include the Baader Planetarium (in Germany), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
TSE 17 has produced over 6 million glasses so far, and the demand continues to increase, said Andy Lunt, owner of Lunt Solar Systems, sister company to TSE 17. As for how many Rainbow Symphony has produced, it's "way into seven figures," according to spokesman Mark Margolis.
Thousand Oaks Optical has some glasses for sale but also produces the safety material that's placed in the eclipse glasses frames made by American Paper Optical and Rainbow Symphony, according to company owner Pat Steele. He said his company has produced enough of the safety film for 90 million glasses and viewers.
NASA this week issued a warning to be sure that the “ISO” (International Organization for Standardization) icon is on any eclipse glasses you buy. The glasses also must have the ISO reference number 12312-2.
In addition, the space agency warned glasses should not be more than three years old and should not have scratched or wrinkled lenses.