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Welding, hardware stores in Cleveland mostly sold out of goggles ahead of Monday's solar eclipse

Welding goggles must be certain filter to be safe
Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 17, 2017

For 2 minutes and 40 seconds on Monday, August 21, all eyes will be on the sky for a total solar eclipse.

It’s the first time Americans will be able to see it since 1979 — and the mad rush to see it safely is on.

Hardware and supply stores have seen increased demand for welding goggles — so much so, that most shops that News 5 called in the Cleveland area are sold out.

FULL COVERAGE: Everything you need to know about the Solar Eclipse

Shop owners are also reluctant to recommend goggles under a certain filter because they may not be safe.

Airgas, a company that typically specializes in welding equipment, has been inundated with new customers and new callers.

They have sold hundreds and hundreds of welding goggles along with filters ranging between 12 and 14, which is what NASA recommends.

RELATED: Can't find glasses? Here are some other ways to view the eclipse

“It basically blocks out UV light,” said William West, Airgas account manager. “Tough to keep stuff on the shelves for everybody.”

West said they ordered another shipment of 150 goggles and filters to arrive at the store at 20th and Train Ave. by Friday morning.

They are not recommending welding hoods, because those usually darken when an arc sparks in front of them and that does not happen with the sun.

TheCuyahoga County Public Library received 1,000 solar eclipse glasses as a donation from StarNet, an organization that works with NASA. But within days, all of the goggles were gone.

“We ran out really quickly because the demand has been surprising, it’s really incredible,” said Robert Rua, marketing director for the Cuyahoga County Library.

Rua said they tried to order more to match their demand, but found reputable retailers were also sold out.

Wednesday, just five days before the eclipse, Rua said the Parma branch of the library received nearly 150 calls from the public, wanting to know how to get solar eclipse goggles. The library has 27 branches around the county and the calls are pouring in to all of them.

“This is uncharted territory,” Rua said.

The library is hosting a viewing party on Monday.

NASA has a comprehensive list of safety guidelines.

The American Astrological Society has a list of approved retailers for solar eclipse glasses.

The glasses do have an expiration date, so they won't work for the next eclipse in 2024.