Why You Need Solar Filters for the Eclipse

Most people know they should never look at the sun with unprotected eyes. While this holds true any time, it is even more important when there will be a solar eclipse because the rays become more focused during the event. With a major solar eclipse on the horizon for the Americas, it is time to start looking at solar filters to help you view the event.

  • Jason Lewin

View the American Eclipse Safely

Viewing a solar eclipse can be a magical experience. However, it’s important to stay safe while you do so. Even though the sun is covered in these situations, it is just as dangerous, if not more so, to look directly at the sun. With a rare American eclipse of the sun coming up on August 21, 2017, it’s important to start looking into your options for safe viewing.

  • Jason Lewin

Getting Ready for the "Super-Bowl of the Sky"

Bartlett company making glasses for total eclipse, ‘Super Bowl of the Sky’


BARTLETT, Tenn.-- If you didn’t like how this years Super Bowl turned out you have a chance to see another one but you’ll have to look up.

It’s being called "the Super Bowl of the sky" and Tuesday, February 21, officially marks six months until portions of the United States will experience a full solar eclipse.

It’s been decades since this has happened and there’s a company in Bartlett playing a major role, providing tens of millions of glasses to safely watch the eclipse as it happens.

It’s a typical day at American Paper Optics in Bartlett and the machines are pedal to the metal.

WREG was given an inside look (watch video now)

The special solar glasses are designed, printed, folded and glued for hundreds of museums, schools and companies across the country, potentially up to a million per day.  They’re manufactured right in Bartlett, Tennessee but come August 21 you will find them playing a crucial role for tens of millions of Americans as they step outside to see this a solar eclipse.

Some parts of the country will experience the full eclipse.

The full eclipse will stretch from Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. John Jerit is the President of American Paper Optics, the man helping people experience history.

"Our goal is to sell at least 100 million glasses," he explained.

Jerit has been making glasses for more than 16 years out of Bartlett, you can see for yourself his company has had their hand in a myriad of projects, many calling for 3-D glasses.

"We even did 134 million glasses for the Super Bowl in 2009," he said.

Right now they’re focusing on the upcoming total eclipse.

"You’ll see it in Memphis. In Memphis you’re going to have a 94% eclipse which is great but there’s nothing like getting to totality. Which is 100% so for here the closest place would be Nashville, Tennessee or Carbondale, Illinois," explained Jerit.

The paper glasses help you safely look at the sun and watch the eclipse happen and if it’s a total eclipse you can safely take them off and look at the sky.

"You’ll get two minutes of the day becoming night, temperatures dropping 12 degrees, animals being confused and people going crazy," said Jerit with a smile.

It’s a moment Jerit is excited for Mid-Southerners to witness, that could have a lasting impact.

"This is a lifetime experience. This is the kind of experience that influences children to become mathematicians, astronomers, physicists. It’s an amazing event," he said.


Click image below for more information and a tour of the APO facility!

  • Jason Lewin

World's Largest Pair of Safe Solar Glasses

MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 21, 2017 -- As the U.S. gears up for the next total solar eclipse taking place Aug. 21, American Paper Optics, the world's leading manufacturer of solar eclipse and 3-D glasses, has built the world's largest pair of functioning safe solar eclipse glasses. Measuring at approximately 32 feet wide and 3 feet high, the glasses represent the magnitude of the event that John Jerit, owner and CEO of APO, fervently refers to as 'the largest event in the sky.'


 (John Jerit photographed with the largest pair of eclipse glasses)

Not only are the glasses unique in size, but the fact that they are completely functional (meaning, people can stand behind them, look through the ISO-certified lens and safely view the sun) makes them that much more impressive. APO built the glasses to help the U.S. commemorate what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of the more than 300 million people estimated to view the eclipse.

The journey to building the glasses began in late 2016, when Jerit contemplated the most creative way to remember the rare eclipse for years to come. Shortly thereafter, the construction process launched into full swing. From meticulously creating the design to deciding on the appropriate specifications to ensure the glasses were in fact the 'world's largest,' the glasses have now made a clear statement – you don't want to miss Aug. 21, the day when people across the country will witness the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. in nearly four decades.

Those lucky enough to live in or who are planning a trip to one of the 12 states located along the Path of Totality will be among the many to witness the full total solar eclipse. Outside the path, viewers will witness a partial eclipse. This map outlines the projected viewership of the eclipse.

However, no matter where people physically are located in the U.S. on Aug. 21, they will need a pair of safe solar eclipse glasses. The glasses can be custom-branded for any individual, company or organization – using size, shape and color scheme – to commemorate the eclipse.


  • Jason Lewin

Forbes article on CEO John Jerit

Less than two years ago, John Jerit, owner of American Paper Optics, the largest manufacturer of 3D and safe solar eclipse glasses, wasn't sure he'd live to see 2017.

A cancer diagnosis not only knocked him sideways, but also put into perspective that he may not get to see the one event that he literally has been waiting for his whole life, and geared his business for; August 21, 2017, the date when a total solar eclipse will cross the US, from coast to coast for the first time since 1979.

He has set himself an ambitious goal of selling 100 million pairs of the solar safe glasses, which filter out 100% of harmful ultra-violet and infrared rays and 99.999% of intense visible light, providing the safest way to view the cosmic event. Suddenly that goal looked out of reach.

A psychology graduate from Louisiana State University Jerit had always had a passion for business. He says: “I cut my teeth working for an American fireworks company in Mississippi, and was a partner in a three-restaurant development in the mid-80s, which gave me an opportunity to experience what it was like to be a business owner right out of college.”

However, it was after fishing a pair of diffraction glasses out of a trashcan that he came up with his business idea. Coining the name ‘3-D Fireworks Glasses’ he went onto sell more than 10,000 pairs of them at a fireworks event in Memphis.

In 1990 he launched his business American Paper Optics with just two employees, and like many small business startups, found a lack of capital one of the greatest challenges.

“As I was paying employees out of my pocket, I was trying to find a way to create revenue,” he says. “It was very slim for the first nine months, however in 1991 we secured a major project to produce 13 million 3D glasses for the ‘Freddy’s Dead: Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchise. The profits from that project allowed me to hit the ground running.

“I’d say it’s my inner carnie-showman that propelled me to start American Paper Optics, and 26 years later, I’m still realising my passion for bringing optical joy to the planet, one 3D glass at a time.”

A once-in-a-lifetime event, the 2017 total solar eclipse presented Jerit with his biggest business opportunity yet. He says: “With a potential for 300 million people to experience it, I set out to sell at least 100 million eclipse glasses to protect people’s eyes as they enjoy it.”

Then in 2015, his plans came to a sudden halt when he received a devastating cancer diagnosis.

He says: “A cancer diagnosis for anyone is unexpected and can lead to a state of confusion and indecision about treatment and your own future. I knew if I had the surgery, my chances for a healthy life were greater than delaying treatment. So from a business-planning standpoint, I knew I had to immediately step up our marketing activity in case I was going to be out for any extended period of time.

“Luckily, I have a great staff, and for the month or so that I was unable to work at peak, they picked up my slack. In terms of life planning, the obvious thing was getting my affairs in order for my kids’ future. Then, I set a goal to survive cancer, view this historic total solar eclipse and market and sell as many glasses as I possibly could.”

Thankfully, after treatment, Jerit got the ‘all clear’, and immediately redoubled efforts at American Paper Optics, ramping up for mass production of tens of millions of eclipse glasses, both custom-branded and in their own commemorative style.

He says: “We’ve already produced millions of eclipse glasses, and fresh orders are coming in daily. We are marketing our products all over the US, via retailers, distributors, and online at our own websites, including, and building a presence on Amazon at the consumer level.

“If we continue at this pace, we have a great shot at hitting the 100 million mark, although we still need a couple of key corporate sponsors to get us over the top. It is such a great giveaway to build goodwill and advance the whole STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative.”

All along the coast to coast total-eclipse corridor on August 21, the sun and moon will be aligned, creating a corona, with the outer edge of the moon sparkling. The total eclipse will last only a couple of minutes or so, but darkness will fall, along with the temperatures.

Once the cosmic event is over, though, American Paper Optics won’t be sitting idle, and will launch immediately into production of its famous holiday glasses, used for viewing holiday and Christmas lights.

With revenues of $10 million, and an expanding workforce – the current 40 employees will increase to more than 60 in the next few months to manage the demand of the eclipse – the future for the Bartlett, Tennessee-based firm is looking as majestic as the celestial events that it helps to celebrate.    

Jerit adds: “Of course, there are eclipses all over the world every year, so there will be other great opportunities to sell our Safe Solar Glasses at those sites, including the next total solar eclipse taking place on July 2, 2019, in South America.”



  • Jason Lewin