Acme Depot Showcase #1

(Filed: 14 August 1999)
(Updated: 23 August 2000, 18 August 2002)

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The Type B-7 Flying Goggle

The Type B-7 Flying Goggle, as a collectible, is highly desired for its relative rarity and for its exclusive association with the U.S. Army Air Corps. The nearly identical and related AN-6530 goggle, which replaced the B-7, is comparatively more abundant and was shared by the Army and the Navy (hence, the "AN" designation).

The B-7 was standardized in 1933 and classified as limited standard in 1943 when it was replaced by the AN-6530.

Referring to the photos below, one can identify several characteristics of the B-7:

  • The B-7 nomenclature on the bridge, along with the USAC designation.
  • The sculpted shape of the bridge (although some B-7's also have the simpler square shape of the AN-6530).
  • The individual eye cushions.

B-7 Goggles

B-7 Close-up

The individual right and left eye cushions were marked with their part numbers, 33B5021-3 and 33B5021-2, respectively. There are no similar markings on the single-piece cushion of the AN-6530, although its part number is 33B5021-4. Another difference between the eye cushions is that the single cushion is backed by chamois lining while the separate cushions have no lining at all on the rubber.

While the AN-6530 is strongly associated with single eye cushions, the early ones were equipped with the separate cushions. It is also possible to find B-7 goggles with the single cushion since they also fit as replacements and, judging from surviving examples, the single cushions seem to have held up better over time.

Another goggle feature worth mentioning is the ventilator on top of each eyepiece. There are two variations which appear on both the B-7 and AN-6530. One is a simple short tube and the other is a longer and more integrated design.

A comparison of the front and back views of the B-7 and the AN-6530 goggles illustrates the differences in frame and ventilator design as well as cushion types. The elastic straps were made in black, white, and grey, although white seems to have been most prevalent.


Another set of B-7 goggles is now available for comparison. This pair is the later style with the simpler, squared bridge like the familiar AN-6530. Interestingly, the back of the bridge is marked A-N 6530, an apparent indication of the transition between nomenclatures.
  • Image of full goggle. The original individual cushions have been replaced by a later model full-width cushion.
  • Image of the front and back of the bridge, showing both the B-7 and A-N 6530 markings.

Another Update

This set of B-7 goggles is on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. These have the early sculpted bridge but with the longer integrated ventilation tubes.


  • Maguire, Jon. A., Gear Up!, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, PA 1995. ISBN: 0-88740-744-7.
  • Sweeting, C.G., Combat Flying Clothing, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 1984. ISBN: 0-87474-898-4.
  • U.S. Army Air Forces Illustrated Catalog, Class 13, September 30, 1943 (available in reprint).
  • Weld, Jim, Flying Headgear of the World 1934-1945, self-published, 1980. ISBN 0-9603240-0-3.

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Copyright © 1999-2002 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.