The History of AO Safety Cool Blue Welding Lenses and AlloWeld Safety Glasses and Super Magenta Drop-In Lenses
Welding without proper protection poses many dangers to your eyes. That’s why welders need to always wear safety glasses or goggles or a safety hood that guard their vision. Many wear glasses underneath their hoods.
In the history of welding safety lenses, one brand name has become legendary in the profession: American Optics Safety Weld Cool filter plate, usually called “Cool Blue.” Although AO discontinued the product in 1990, welders still talk about how great they are at protecting eyesight and at removing the yellow flare of the contact arc. That allows welders to clearly see what they are doing. Welders still prize those glasses so much, they go for $4-500 a pair on eBay, when you can find a listing for them. Working welders treasure their Cool Blues and hang on to them.
Why did American Optics stop manufacturing them? That’s not known in detail. According to an email from the Product Line Director, they had a problem in the manufacturing of the blue base glass, a specialized form of cobalt glass. Evidently, they decided reformulating the base glass would be so expensive they could not continue to make a profit. At that time, many welders were switching from passive filter lenses to auto-darkening lenses. If Cool Blues became too expensive, AO feared, more welders would switch to those types of lenses.
(These days, auto-darkening lenses do not darken quickly enough to prevent eye problems. It takes only a bit of radiation to flash through the lens of your eye in a millisecond to burn a permanent hole in your retina. Therefore, workers compensation doesn’t want to pay for claims made by workers who used them. Therefore, many shops do not allow these types of glasses.)
Failure to use proper goggles or a face mask exposes your eyes to excess radiation that causes “arc eye,” or “flash burn” or photokeratitis. That’s severe inflammation, like a sunburn, of your cornea and your eye’s conjunctiva. It also puts you at higher risk of developing cataracts.
Eye problems cause one-quarter of all welding injuries. All eye protection should comply with ANSI Z87.1.
AlloWeld Safety Glasses
Phillips Safety intends their AlloWeld lenses to replace your regular welding lens. Phillips designed them to outperform the AO Cool Blue glasses by eliminating the yellow to near-orange shades of the spectrum, so the flame and flare of the arc does not block your vision.
They make the lenses from German glass that’s high in quality and free of distortion. Glass lenses are far superior to plastic or polycarbonate because everything you see through it is clearer. Phillips starts with standard green welding glass that protects your eyes from both IR and UV and creates a composite that eliminates the yellow to near-orange light of the arc. It also enhances contrast to improve your vision quality.
The rare earth elements in the glass increase color contrast, making it easier to determine the material’s temperature and puddling. They meet ANSI standards for welding lenses. They are highly durable and scratch resistant. They’re made to braze and weld aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel, so they’re great for welding and brazing work on:
* Refrigeration units
The lenses come in dark emerald-green, shades 4,5,6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. They also come gold-coated. The gold coating reflects 90% of radiant heat. This keeps your eyes cooler and less tired during long welding sessions.
AlloWeld lenses come in two sizes:
* Small 2 X 4.25
* Large 4.5 X 5.25
The AlloWeld outdoes the old Cool Blue glasses by completely eliminating the yellow-orange flare of the arc. With AlloWeld, you see the weld puddle as it forms. You see the arc wearing down the electrode. You see your work as you perform it.
And they’re completely safe because they block 100% of both the infra-red and ultraviolet radiation given off during the welding process. This protects your eyesight from the long-term effects of exposure to IR and UV light.
Super Magenta Drop-In Lenses
Another Phillips product to protect the eyesight of welders is the Super Magenta Drop-In Lenses. They are drop-ins, so you must use them with your standard welding shade. They make the lenses of advanced acrylic, also eliminating the yellow to the near-orange flare of the arc. And they enhance the other colors. Users report excellent color separation, clarity, and overall viewing quality. Optically, they are as good as glass lenses.
Standard green welding shades reduce visible light, but the welding arc remains extremely bright, painful, and potentially eye-damaging. The bright flame interferes with your view of your work, reducing your quality. By eliminating the yellow and orange shade of the spectrum, Super Magenta gets rid of the visual flair and enhances your view of the task at hand.
The Super Magenta adds about 1/2 to the shade of your normal welding lenses. Phillips Super Magenta Drop-In Lenses come in three sizes:
* Small Rectangle 2 X 4.25
* Large Rectangle 4.5 X 5.25
* Circular 50 mm in diameter
Protect them from spatter because it can pit the acrylic. For the same reason, keep them in the packing envelope or otherwise protected when not in use.
You can also use them in the cheater holder of an auto-darkening hood.
Never use Super Magenta drop-ins as standalone lenses while welding. You still need standard shades to protect your eyes from IR radiation. Using only Super Magenta lenses will damage your eyes. They block ultraviolet, but not infrared.
At Phillips Safety Products we carry a full line of AlloWeld and Super Magenta welding safety glasses and supplies. Contact us today.