West Tennessee Company makes glasses to safely view August solar eclipse

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A West Tennessee company is playing a major role in the upcoming total solar eclipse, providing tens of millions of glasses to safely watch the event.

The machines at American Paper Optics in Bartlett, Tennessee, have been pedal to the metal for months.

WHNT News 19’s sister station, WREG, was given an inside look.

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 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.

The path of totality stretches 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 percent  eclipse which is great but there’s nothing like getting to totality. Which is 100 percent so for here the closest place would be Nashville, Tennessee or Carbondale, Illinois,” explained Jerit.

The sun will be at least 95 percent covered in most of north Alabama.

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.

“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 here for information on how you can get a pair of eclipse glasses.

Click here to read more of WHNT News 19’s coverage of the upcoming total solar eclipse.