Several months ago, I started to look up the 100 oldest eyewear-eyecare and optical companies in the United States. This soon evolved into a major work in progress as new information came my way. While this may seen like a lot of companies 50 years and older, it is probably only a partial listing, as many eyecare professionals as well as optical companies in the East-and Mid East are not listed .

The Bank of Korea in 2008 investigated 41 countries and stated that there were 5,586 companies older than 200 years in the world. Of these:

  • 3,146 are located in Japan
  • 837 in Germany
  • 222 in the Netherlands

These companies include eyewear manufacturers and distributors, optical accessories such as cleaners, cleaning cloths, retainers and readers, contact lens, optical lenses for eyecare, optical-eyewear-medical equipment. After visiting many different companies sites and Facebook pages and this is what I came up with. Disclaimer: I did not visit most Asian eyewear companies as I could not translate the information. Many companies do not have a history or a founded’ date listed. Apologies to ‘quoting’  various histories’ This is what they said on their websites and or social media.

  1. 1615: Murata (Japan) Apparently Murata was once a Shogun supplier of mirrors. They started working in eyeglasses in 1872. (Source)
  2. 1629 Worshipful Company of Spectacles formed in the UK Their slogan was: “A blessing to the aged.
  3. 1690 It could be that Delamare-Sovra an optical consumables company was founded in 1690. Delamare Sovra was purchased by Essilor in 2004.
  4. 1750 Dolland and Aitchison (England) Optical Shops. We just put this here because even though they were bought by Boots Opticians in 2009, some of their original stores might still be standing under Boots Opticians. Boots Optician is part of the De Rigo Family of companies.
  5. 1777:  C.W.Dixey and Son (UK) Many of you know this retailer as this is a Trivia Question as the oldest optical retailer in the world. They have released their own branded product.
  6. 1792 Cigna Insurance company. This is not ‘optical’ company, but they do have an eyecare insurance program. Cigna also has eight locations in the southwest USA.
  7. 1810: L’amy Eyewear (France); ‘The Lamy family was one of the families involved in developing the craftsmanship implicated in eyewear manufacture. It is thanks to Louis Félix LAMY, born in Les Rousses (Jura) back in 1779, that this company was set up in 1810. In the beginning, Louis Félix LAMY focused on selling eyewear to Switzerland and Italy on account of their proximity to the Jura. Trading with these other countries brought the business international success. In 1879, his grandson, Auguste LAMY joined the company and began exporting his grandfather’s frames to Australia.... L’amy is still in business today, has a presence in the United States, member of The Vision Council and you can see them at Vision Expo.
  8. 1816 Fredrichs Optik (Germany) Handmade eyewear retailers with six locations in the world. ‘Begins with Campbell Optik, founded in Hamburg by London optician William Campbell. He was respected for his reputation for unsurpassed quality and excellence, and from the earliest days, Campbell was known to carry the most extensive and exclusive collection of eyewear, binoculars, surgical loupes and nautical equipment. Over the years Campbell introduced many optical and retail firsts were with some of the top optical companies including Zeiss and Leica. Campbell was the first to introduced the concept of fitting tables. Fredrichs currently has 6 stores around the globe including New York and Florida
  9. 1826 American Optical (Southbridge, MA)  
  10. 1830 Metzler (Netherlands) METZLER has its origins in Paris, where the activities started in 1830 being moved to Stuttgart Germany by J.P. Metzler in 1911. By the turn of the millennium METZLER Italy had firmly integrated into the famous Italian Cadore area After 183 years, today’s global headquarter is based in the Netherlands
  11. 1830 Black and Lizars (Scotland) Not an eyewear manufacturer, but a large retail optical chain.
  12. 1837 Invicta Watch (Florida) Invicta is known for watches, but they also have an eyewear and sunglass collection, which is fairly recent They have been making watches since 1837.
  13. 1840 Schweizer Optik (Germany) Low Vision Specialist ; Via Google Translate: 1840:
    Company founder: Abraham Schweizer 1810-1866 Brand: Asif (A. Schweizer in Fürth)Occupation: Gürtlermeister (old name for masters in metalworking)Activity: Mainly metal toys, also optical toys, owner of the patent for the yo-yo. In addition, as more than a dozen craftsmen from the Gürtler guild, he produced glasses from different materials. (Center for the production of spectacles in the Kingdom of Bavaria was Fürth). With manual production the growing demand could no longer be covered, so one was dependent on imports, mainly from France.
  14. 1843 Vuillet Vega (France) Still being manufactured today and you visit them at optical trade shows including Vision Expo
  15. 1844 Kodak (Rochester, NY) Kodak was known for photography, cameras and optical lenses. Currently Kodak lenses are licensed to Signet Armorlite (Essilor) for lenses and Kodak Vision Centers.
  16. 1847 Cartier Founded. Cartier the jewelers, eyewear was launched much later. Today Cartier is distributed by Kering as of 2017.
  17. 1847 Carl Zeiss Founded (Germany)
  18. 1849 Ferd Wagner (Germany): is one of the major suppliers of materials, like rim-wires, profiles, round wires & sheets for the metal frames production. They moved to Asia in the 1970’s, merged with Zapp Precision metals in 2008.
  19. 1849 Mazzucchelli (Italy) Mazzucchelli started out making combs and progressed into one of the best known zyl acetate manufacturers.
  20. 1849: The Essilor Starts; See Wikipedia and History of Essilor 
  21. 1851 Corning Glass (MA and New York) Corning Glass is a manufacturer of the photochromatic SunSensor glass lenses. Corning Glass USA/SunSensors was bought by Mitsui Chemicals in 2014. (Mitsui)
  22. 1851 Revel Paris is launched.
  23. 1853 Bausch and Lomb (Rochester, NY)
  24. 1854 Louie Vuitton (France) Louie Vuitton is known for their travel and leather goods, but they also have an eyewear line. Owned by LVMH. LVMH bought into Marcolin in 2017.
  25. 1858 Haag Streit (Bern, Switzerland) Optical equipment company and manufacturer. 
  26. 1865 Shuron (Greenville, SC) The iconic Shuron is still manufactured today in the United States.
  27. 1872 Lotos Gold (Germany) Lotos Gold is a jeweler who has exhibited at Silmo, an Optical Trade Show. They offer solid gold eyewear.
  28. 1872 Traction Productions (France) Via Google Translate Traction Productions is the brand of the eyewear company Victor Gros, an historic company that was run by 5 generations of the same family. Founded in 1872 in Oyonnax by Edouard Gros, the company was originally specialized in the manufacture of hair ornaments. With the evolution of fashion and especially that of short hair, the company is diversifying. The 1930s mark the beginning of this change, the know-how developed in contact with the material (cellulose acetate) will be used to manufacture spectacles. Since he took over the family business in 1979, Thierry Gros has wished to perpetuate the tradition of a local manufacture, in the cradle of French eyewear: the Jura. From the first collection under the name of Traction Productions, in 1989, colors and shapes develop without constraint or restriction.Traction Production has several optical shops, and is distributed in the USA
  29. 1875 E.B Meyerwitz (Paris, France, UK) Has optical shops, wholesaler and retailer of luxury products. Offers Bespoke Eyewear. 
  30. 1877 Rodenstock Eyewear (Germany) Rodenstock has been in and out of the USA for years and is coming back. ‘ Rodenstock has both eyewear and Lenses.Josef Rodenstock founded the company 1877 with the first fine-mechanical workshop in Wuerzburg, Germany. Nobody could suspect at that time that he would become the founder of a well known world-wide optical company. By 1891 120 employees worked for the company. They produced eyeglasses and binoculars, microscopes, telescopes etc. also numerous cameras and photo lenses. For over 120 years the production of lenses was a key business of the Optischen Werke G. Rodenstock.
  31. 1879 Erkers (St. Louis, MO) Is the oldest retailer in the United States who is owned by the same family. You may know them as well as the are known as the distributor (Studio Optyxx and 77NW Eyewear who just launched made in USA eyewear

    Erkers ad circa 1050’s
  32. 1878 Gouverneur Audigier (France) Via their website ‘Gouverneur Audigier is one of the oldest active French eyewear manufacture. Today, the manufacture continues to operate at the address where Clément Gouverneur founded the House in 1878, using the original technology. Each frame is handcrafted by passionate craftsmen respecting a «Savoir-Faire» gleaned over the past 137 years. 
  33. 1878 Lozza (Italy) now distributed by De Rigo.
  34. 1880 Morel Eyewear (France) For more than 130 years, the Morel company has embodied the know-how of the French eyewear industry, carefully following the traditions and respecting the values of Jules Morel, its founder. The artisan workshop set up in 1880 is now an innovative company famous for its quality and design. Morel is a member of The Vision Council and attends both Vision Expos as well as European Trade Shows. They just launched a heritage collection called 1880
  35. 1882 Anglo American (UK) Anglo American Optical Company LTD was founded in London and has been available in the United States forever. You can find them at Vision Expo.
  36. 1883 Hakusan Megane (Japan) via Google Translate:Hakusan Eyeglass Store (Shirayama Megane), founded in Ningyocho in 1883, The present Hakusan glasses store (born in 1946 in Ueno) Since 1975 we have been manufacturing our original frame… The basic concept is “Do not design too much”
  37. 1886 Johnson and Johnson (New Brunswick, NY) Pharmaceutical and consumer goods company, that has contact lenses. They have sales of over $70 Billion globally. Contact lenses (Acuvue) were launched in 1987.
  38. 1888 Julbo Eyewear (France) The company was founded in 1888, three generations have directed Julbo’s evolution from manufacturer of corrective lenses to global producer of protective eyewear for all active outdoor pursuits.
  39. 1888 Sears Roebuck: At one time Sears offered spectacles. Today many of the Sears Optical are run by Luxottica.

    Sears Ad 1905
  40. 1888 Bolle Eyewear (France) Bolle was acquired by Bushnell (est. 1945).
    The Bolle  story began in the small town of Oyonnax, France in 1888. There Seraphim Bollé started his company by first manufacturing combs and hair ornaments for the boxwood and horn indigenous to the region. After WWII, Bollé led the way in molding nylon to the highest standards in the world. Safety glasses and goggles were added to the Bollé line  in 1950 and in 1956 Georges Bollé created the famous nylon ‘cat-eye’ sunglass. And in 1960, ski goggles were first marketed by Bollé. 
  41. 1888 Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs (Philadelphia, PA) Six store retail locations.
  42. 1889 Winchester Optical (Elmira, NY) Winchester Optical started out as a eyeglass manufacturer in Connecticut, moved to New York in 1902. They started in the lab business in 1906. Winchester Optical was purchased by Essilor in 2011.
  43. 1890 Vanca Craft (Japan) This company makes incredible works of art and eyeglass desk top accessories out of leather.
  44. 1890 Hongyichuancheng (China) We are sorry, we couldn’t translate from their website.
  45. 1891 Grand Vision (Helsinki, Finland) ‘The roots of GrandVision lead back to 1891, when Christian Nissen opened his first optician’s store in Helsinki, Finland. More than 120 years later, Nissen is still one of the GrandVision leading retail banners in Finland today.’ Grand Vision operates 6000 retail stores around the world
  46. 1895 Lunettes Grasset (France) Eyewear company that is still in business today.
  47. 1895 British Optical Association Museum opens. This is the oldest optical museum in the world.
  48. 1896 Menrad (Germany) In 1896 the goldsmith Ferdinand Menrad founded his company, the “Württembergische Optische Industrie-Anstalt Ferdinand Menrad” in Schwäbisch Gmünd.
  49. 1898 Algha Eyeworks (England) (AKA) Saville Row Eyewear. Via Wikipedia: Algha was established in London in 1898 by Max Wiseman & co.Manufacturing was then moved to East London from Germany in 1932.From the 1950s until 1988 Algha produced subsidised eyewear under the NHS. Eyewear designed and manufactured at the Algha Works factory has enjoyed a cult status in eyewear history and has been worn by numerous public figures.
  50. 1898 Duggert Etuis (Germany) Via Google Translate: Etuis Duggert was founded by Heinrich Duggert. The main activity already existed in the production of spectacle and jewelery cases. At that time, the cases were made in wood in their own carpentry and then covered with velvet and leather, later also with suede or glossy paper. Already in the post-war years, sales representatives were present at jewelers and opticians throughout the entire Federal territory. 
  51. 1898 American Optometric Association (AOA) formed. The AOA is a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations.
  52. 1904 Phillips Safety Products (Middlesex, New Jersey) Safety Eyewear
  53. 1905 Masunaga Optical (Japan) Masunaga Optical was established in Fukui Prefecture. Beginning with a guild-like cooperative system, our craftsmen created a new optical industry in this region, working together to improve their skills and produce fine quality frames. Masunaga has several Flagship stores in Japan. They can be seen at both Silmo and Hong Kong Trade shows.
  54. 1907 Optik Licefa (Germany) ‘From 1907 onwards, the “Lippische Celluloidwarenfabrik” mainly manufactured hair accessories, combs and plastic parts for the textile industry and extended the range in 1947 to include eyeglass frames.
  55. 1907 Belstaff (UK)
  56. 1910 Reynolds Optical (Portland, OR) 3 stores optical retail store, which has their own house brand of eyewear called Inhouse Eyewear. 
  57. 1911 Optical Underground (San Francisco, CA) Optical retailer currently selling overstock eyewear.
  58. 1911 Yamamoto Kogaku (Japan) Founded as Yamamoto Optical Lens Factory. 1955: They changed their name to Yamamoto Bojin Megane Company. 1980 Changed name to Yamamoto Kogaku. In another listing:
  59. 1911 Optic Japan – Yamamoto Kogaku (Japan)
  60. 1912: Germano Gambini (Italy) Read a history on Opticianado and on their website.
  61. 1912  Donald Paine MD opens up in Topeka, Kansas
  62. 1912 Gerry Optical opens up in Kansas City, Missouri
  63. 1912 New Era Optical (Chicago, IL) an optical distributor opens up.
  64. 1912 Union Optic (Greece) Started as a commercial company in 1912 and moved into ophthalmic lenses in 1980.
  65. 1913 Eschenbach Optik (Nuremburg, Germany) On 15 November Josef Eschenbach establishes the company named after himself with the objective of setting up a wholesale business for optical articles and technical drawing instruments. Eschenbach bought Tura several years ago. Eschenbach/Tura are members of The Vision Council and can be seen at almost all Optical Trade Shows.
  66. 1913 Leica Lenses. Leica spectacle lenses will be developed in collaboration with Novacel (Essilor) and produced in France. (2017)
  67. 1914 Sterling Optical opens it’s first door in New York City. Today Sterling has undergone many changes and continues to expand their franchises. Sterling is a retailer of optical products.
  68. 1914 Wing Eyecare (Ohio) Eyecare Professional
  69. 1915 Walman Optical (Minneapolis, MN) Walman Optical® was founded in 1915 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Mr. J.A.L. Walman. Mr. Walman was an optometrist, optician and jeweler, a fairly common combination of trades in those days. Mr. Walman brought the attention to quality and detail seen in fine jewelry to the world of eyewear. His standards were extremely high, not tolerating even the slightest blemish in a lens or frame. He even modified jewelry tools for use with frames and lenses. This concern for quality and detail became the foundation for the success and growth of the company.
  70. 1915 Moscot (New York, NY) Founder Hyman Moscot began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart on Orchard Street on Manhattan’s famed Lower East Side By 1915, having amassed a following of loyal customers, Hyman opened the family’s retail shop, MOSCOT’s, at 94 Rivington Street. Moscot retail store is still open today. Moscot wholesales eyewear to discerning eyecare retailers.
  71. 1916 United Lens (Southbridge, MA) Optical Glass Lenses for many industries including optical
  72. 1917 Eric Rajapakse Opticians (Sri Lanka)
  73. 1917 Keeler Instruments (Uk) Manufacturer of optical instruments. Charles Davis Keeler (CDK) set sail from Philadelphia in 1906 to start up the Standard Optical Company in London with his wife, daughter and two-year old son, Charles Henry and it grew from there. You can watch their 100 Years video here
  74. 1917 Nikon (Japan)  Nikon Corporation was established on 25 July 1917 when three leading optical manufacturers merged to form a comprehensive, fully integrated optical company known as Nippon Kōgaku Tōkyō K.K. Over the next sixty years, this growing company became a manufacturer of optical lenses (including those for the first Canon cameras) and equipment used in cameras, binoculars, microscopes and inspection equipment. (Wikipedia) Nikon lenses are in distributed by Essilor
  75. 1917 Persol Eyewear (Italy) Turin 1917, Giuseppe Ratti, photographer and owner of Berry Opticians, began an adventure destined to lead to international success. Indeed, it was in a small courtyard in Via Caboto that he began to make technically advanced glasses, designed to satisfy the demands of pilots and sports drivers who required comfort, protection and optimum vision. (History of  Persol Eyewear) Persol was purchased by Luxottica in 1995. Luxottica is a member of The Vision Council.
  76. 1917 The Beacon (UK) is one of the oldest optical magazines. Today it is known as NBonline. (Source)
  77. 1918 Artcraft Optical (Rochester, NY) Art-Craft Optical Co., Inc., was formed in 1918 by Charles J. Eagle and Otto W. Dechau. Member of The Vision Council and you can visit them at Vision Expo.
  78. 1918 Alfred Franks and Barlett (UK) Distributor, manufacturer of home health and beauty products including sunglasses and readers.
  79. 1918 Premiere Optical (UK) Optical Retailer who makes custom eyewear.
  80. 1918 Fluegge Optical (Waterford, WS) Optical shop with labs
  81. 1919 Kirk Originals (UK) The original Kirk Originals started in 1919 and was ‘the eyewear’ to the stars. Kirk Originals was relaunched in 2014.
  82. 1919 Giorgio Fedon Group launched in Italy, Eyeglasses cases. They can be seen at Silmo.
  83. 1919 Daicel Prosperity (Hong Kong) manufacturers of acetate sheets for making eyewear.
  84. 1919 Asahi Kogaku/Pentax (Japan) Kumao Kajiwara, established Asahi Optical Joint Stock Co. in Otsuka, Tokyo for the manufactures lenses for wearable eyeglasses and binoculars. See History of Pentax) and a Brief History of Asahi Optical 
  85. 1919 BPRO Spa (Italy) Eyewear company.
  86. 1919 Foster Grant: Foster Grant is attributed to bring fashion sunglasses to the mainstream by advertising and the Tagline ‘Who’s Behind Those Foster Grant’s) Foster Grant via FGX was purchased by Essilor in 2009. Foster Grant wholesales and retails readers and sunglasses
  87. 1921 Franco Sordelli (Italy) Amleto Sordelli, Enrico Hintermann and Cesare Gandini established  “Sordelli SpA”  firm  in the forefront  of plastic material production and processing. The eyewear can be seen at Silmo
  88. 1921 Henry Jullien Lunetier (France) ‘Henry Jullien is manufacturer of eyewaer in the Jura region of France. They are known for models of high-end double-gold laminated glasses and his custom-made glasses,’ Henry Jullien was a sales rep for a frame manufacturer. They are usually at a Vision Expo and Silmo.
  89. 1921 Pajuk Optiek (Netherlands) Eyeglass and Sunglass wholesalers.
  90. 1921 Max Pittion Eyewear: (France) Max Pittion born March 1, 1921 in Oyonnax, a small town located in The Southern Jura (French Alps). This area was known primarily for the manufacturing of combs, originally they were crafted in wood and later in cow horn. In the 1920’s a new material appeared, it was called celluloid and is a kind of plastic. Objects were made by punching the shapes out of slabs of this material & then hand-finished.  Emile Pittion, Max’s father started to manufacture combs in the 1920’s and by the 1940’s he was doing limited manufacturing of celluloid eyeglasses in the family factory, Pittion Lunetterie. The company was relaunched in 2013
  91. 1922 Emilio Scolari Eyewear (Italy) luxury Eyewear
  92. 1922 McCleod Optical (Rhode Island) 3 locations in the Northeast. Essilor lab
  93. 1922 Advanced Optical (Rochester, NY) Optical Surfacing Lab, purchased by Essilor
  94. 1922 Lugene Opticians (Atlanta, Georgia) Optical shop.
  95. 1923 Fabbricatorino Eyewear (Italy) ‘ On the 10th of May 1923 the Anonima Manifattura FABBRICATORINO was created in Turin. The Company was founded by two engineers who had become friends in the early 20th during their university career and, later on, both managers of DIATTO, the industrial group concerned with mechanical construction and railways since 1835, based in Turin.
  96. 1923 Binde Optik (Germany) Binde exhibited at Munich.
  97. 1923 Sanko Kogaka (Japan) makes first pair of eyeglasses.
  98. 1923 LaFont Eyewear (Paris, France)  LaFont owns several optical shops in France and is a wholesaler luxury eyewear. LaFont is member of The Vision Council and can be seen at many optical Trade Shows including Vision Expo.
  99. 1923 Lyric Optical established. (Ohio) Lyric Optical currently operates as Fast Grind International, an all in one surfacing equipment.
  100. 1923 Zyloware (New York, NY) Is still a family run and independent eyewear company. They are member of The Vision Council and can be seen at Vision Expo. Founded in 1923 by Joseph Shyer, Zyloware originated in Long Island City, New York.
  101. 1924 Azir Miza (Ankara, Turkey) starting off as an optical shop in Turkey they now manufacture eyewear.
  102. 1924 Campbell Marson (London, UK) Wood flooring company that started making eyewear in 2016
  103. 1925 Jono Hennessy (Australia) still is creating luxury,  limited edition eyewear today.  Their story starts with an optometrist, but the manufacturing starts in 1960.  C.H. Filmer Sceats started his practice as an optometrist back in 1925. He was the first optometrist in Australia’s capital, and there he looked after embassy staff from all nations. Filmer increased his ophthalmic knowledge and skills during the Second World War, working alongside some of the best ophthalmologists throughout the Greek and African campaigns. He was made an Officer in the Royal Australian Army 1943.This unique experience gave him empathy, compassion and an inclusive philosophy. With these strong principles and an early induction into the art world growing up with his opera singing father, led him to become one of the most respected and creative optometrists and bespoke optical in the country and this guided his work when he opened his Sydney city practice. In the 1960’s Filmer employed a bespoke frame maker in his practice. 
  104. 1926 UVEX founded in Barcelona, Spain and then to Furth, Germany. See the History of UVEX 
  105. 1926 Oliver Goldsmith is still an independent eyewear retailer and wholesaler of luxury and Bespoke eyewear and sunglasses. They can be seen at almost all the optical trade shows.
  106. 1926 B.Robinson (New York, NY) B.Robinson is know for their branded eyewear.
  107. 1926 Opticians Association of American started: While not an eyewear company this non profit industry trade organization is is comprised of eyecare professionals primarily opticians.
  108. 1927 Willems Eyewear (Germany) ‘ Willems Eyewear is the completion of a life-long quest. In 1927 Wilhelm Kraft produced his first pieces. For decades he worked meticulously on creating the perfect frame.’ 
  109. 1927 Magrabi Optical (Egypt) Eyewear chain in Egypt that also has a give back program.
  110. 1927 Breitfeld and Schliekert (Germany)
  111. 1927 Cohens Fashion Optical (New York, NY) Optical retailers
  112. 1927 Primetta (Germany) ‘The company was founded in 1928 by August Wulf. Production of sunglasses started already in 1936. Daily production reached a level of 25,000 pair of sunglasses in 1954. Another 30 years later Primetta sunglasses were available in 85% of the better department stores in Germany, Great Britain and U.S.A’
  113. 1928 August Wulf Collection (Germany) or Primetta .Carry eyewear, sports sunglasses.
  114. 1929 Liberty Optical now Sport (Fairfield, NJ) Founded in downtown Newark, NJ, Liberty begins manufacturing high quality eyewear. Originally called Eagle Optical Company. Rec Spec was introduced in 1976 and Tommy Hilfiger launched in 1999. Liberty Sport is still in business today, member of The Vision Council and attends Vision Expos. Independently owned and operated.
  115. 1930 Fine Arts Optical (San Francisco, CA) Optical Retailer that is still in business today in downtown San Francisco.
  116. 1930 Maison Bonnet (Paris, France) One of the oldest retailers today (that we know about) they are an upscale optical shop that also makes Bespoke Eyewear.
  117. 1930 Vision Ease Lens (St. Cloud, Minnesota) Optical Lens company just bought by Hoya in 2016. They have the Coppertone Lens license and has O’Neil Eyewear. At one time they manufactured some lenses in the United States.
  118. 1930 Rochester Optical (Rochester, NY) First a lab, branching out to retail and then to wearable technology.
  119. 1931 Art Optical Contact Lens (Grand Rapids, MI) Manufacturer of soft and GP contact lens.
  120. 1932 Takeuchi Optical Corporation (Hong Kong) Manufacturers Eyeglasses
  121. 1932 Baruffaldi Goggles (Italy) Known the world over for their sports sunglasses. They are still in business today. ‘The Baruffaldi company was born before 1932, it started producing industrially in 1936-37 and was situated in the east of Milan. The company was a famous producer of ski glasses, motor and climbing glasses, so important that it began to sponsor “Valanga Azzurra” and “Thoeni”, Nuvolari, Ascari: Baruffaldi became the first ski brand in the world, the second in the moto-goggle sector and the first Italian brand in the branch of security products
  122. 1932 Zippo (Bradford, PA) launched lighters and eyewear launched in 2016.
  123. 1932 Francis Pinton (Paris, France) Francis Pinton has attended both Vision Expo and Silmo optical trade shows. They do have a Flagship retail store.
  124. 1934 Safilo (Italy)
  125. 1934 Spectaculars (New York, NY) Made in USA eyewear.
  126. 1935 Moss Optical (Minnesota) Have to love their tagline, Framing Innocent People Since 1935
  127. 1935 California Accessories/ Cal Optix (Hayward, CA) CalOptix was founded as California Optical in 1935 as a manufacturer of premium eyewear cases. We have a rich history with origins that started well before 1935 but design and production of leather cases for Rayban aviator eyewear (for WWII) provided the foundation for who we are today. 
  128. 1935 Wetzlich Brillenglaser (Germany) Optical lenses
  129. 1936 Devlyn Optical (Mexico) Large optical chain of about 1200 stores. The Devlyn Foundation partners with local Rotarys for eye exams.
  130. 1936 Fred (France) Jeweler who also creates luxury eyewear. Part of the LVMH group.
  131. 1936 Frame Holland (Netherlands) They manufacture eyewear in Holland.
  132. 1937 Polaroid Eyewear Edwin Land, invented Polaroid, the world’s first polarizing material for commercial use, in 1929. He founded the Polaroid Corporation in 1937 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1] The company initially produced Polaroid Day Glasses, the first sunglasses with a polarizing filter. Polaroid was sold to Stylemark in 2007 and then sold to Safilo in 2011. (Wikipedia)
  133. 1937 Bausch and Lomb x Rayban Founded by Bausch and Lomb,  Purchased by Luxottica in 1999 
  134. 1937 Factory 900 (Japan) ‘Factory900 refers to the number “900”, the number originally designated to our factory. Our technology in acetate eyewear has been developed over 80 years, and we have established our own unique technology unlike any other in the World. Aoyama glasses Co., Ltd. is a small factory that continued making a plastic frame with company start-to-finish production over 80 years for three generations in Fukui, JAPAN where produce 95% of Japanese glasses. The philosophy of Aoyama glasses is challenging and we continued to challenge new things.  And we advocated a concept called “THE FUTURES EYEWEAR” when we wanted to make newer glasses in 2000 and started house brand FACTORY900 led by designer Mr. Yoshinori Aoyama. We restarted adding the design and the promotion with house integrated production
  135. 1937 Ultra Palm (Miami, Florida) Cazal and Caviar luxury eyewear.
  136. 1938 Gulden Ophthalmics (Elden Park, PA) ophthalmic equipment company and manufacturer.
  137. 1938 Eastern States (New York, NY) Distributors of Cazal, Diva, Jaguar and ETE eyewear.
  138. 1938 Mont-Royal (France) bought by Essilor. Surfacing optical lab.
  139. 1938 Ottica Dante Americas (Italy) and Boca Raton, FL
  140. 1938 Optiker Bode (Germany) optical store chain with and estimated 75 locations
  141. 1938 Tura (New York, NY) See History of Tura. Member of The Vision Council. Current brands are: Gwen Stefani, Ted Baker, Geoffrey Beene, Humphries, Lulu Guinness, Crush, oio, Brendel, Humphreys.
  142. 1938 Talex Polarized Lens Maker (Japan)
  143. 1939 Tokai Optical (Japan) ‘ Since the foundation of Tokai Optical in 1939, our increasing experience and technological capabilities have enabled us to continually move forward as a manufacturer of specialized ophthalmic lenses. The head office also incorporates a factory that makes full use of the latest technology, and is located in the Hanazono Industrial District in Okazaki. In October 2000, we obtained ISO 9001 and 14001 certification. Tokai Optical holds a 15 % share in Japanese market, and also exports to Europe, Asia and North America.’
  144. 1940 Kame Mannen (Japan) Kame Mannen is distributed by Fusion in the United States and can be seen at Optical Trade shoes.
  145. 1940 Michael Pachleitner Group (Austria) Co-founding of Uniopt GmbH/Austria (optical business) by Erich Pachleitner. Founding of Pachleitner GesbR/Austria (jewellery) ‘  
  146. 1940 Nakatani Optical (Japan)
  147. 1941 Hoya (Japan) Optical lens manufacturer. Bought Vision-Ease Lens in 2016.
  148. 1941 Mizushima Optical (Japan) also known as Miz Gold Eyewear Company
  149. 1941 Miyamoto Optical (Japan)
  150. 1945 Abele Optik (Germany) Eyewear retail stores with estimated 75 stores .
  151. 1945 Tart Optical (Relaunched in 2010) with vintage styles from Arnel, Tart and more.
  152. 1945 Victory Optical (New Jersey) Relaunched in 2011, Victory is remaking their eyewear from the past.
  153. 1945 Wagner and Kuehler (Germany) Brands include Aigner,Pepe Jeans, Leibskind, You can find their history here 
  154. 1945 (?) Divel Italy S.P.A (Italy) Glass and custom lens manufacturer.
  155. 1945 DOC Optical (Michigan) small regional chain bought by Luxottica in 2006. Name has been changed, but they are technically still in business.
  156. 1945 Formelli 1945 (Italy)
  157. 1946 Metalcraft Eyewear (Barcelona, Spain)
  158. 1946 Flair (Germany) Rimless eyewear manufacturer. Known for innovative designs and luxury. 
  159. 1946 Sol Amor (France) Sol Amor was a relaunch in 2015 and now called Sol Amor 1946
  160. 1946 BX Eyewear Inspirations (Germany)
  161. 1946 Optoplast Actman Eyewear (UK)
  162. 1946 Walter and Herbert (UK) Walter Conway and Herbert Thorn partnered to create Optoplast Manufacturing Company Limited. They developed technology such as the PIMO machine, an innovation that would shape the way spectacles were manufactured worldwide. Made in England. Part of Optoplast Actman Eyewear.

    PIMO machine launched and put into production, inserting metal reinforcements into acetate spectacle sides with absolute precision, an innovation that changed the way spectacles were manufactured worldwide. With 80 staff at work, Walter and Herbert were able to produce 2 temples a second, exporting more than 5 million a year to 11 countries.
  163. 1946 Koberg + Tente (Germany)
  164. 1946 Hardie Amis Eyewear (UK) Distributed by Concept Eyewear.
  165. 1947 Kroops Eyewear (NC) Made in USA, eyewear for equestrians, parachutists and other air sports.
  166. 1947 OWP (Germany) Eyewear manufacturer.
  167. 1948 Bushnell (Overland Park, Kansas) Member of the Vision Council and can be seen at Optical Trade shows. They own Bolle and Serengeti Sunglasses.
  168. 1948 Singer Optical Lab (Evansville, IN) Optical surfacing lab still in business today.
  169. 1948 Scandinavian Eyewear (Sweden) bought by Marchon in 2012
  170. 1949 Essilor Launch, this is the first official date.
  171. 1949 Globex Lunettier (France)
  172. 1949 Clearvision Optical (Hauppage, New York) Eyewear distributor. Family owned and operated, member of The Vision  Council and can be seen at Vision Expo. Brands include, Steve Madden, REVO, Jessica McClintock, Ellen Tracy, Mark Ecko Cut and Sew, Aspire, BCBG, IZOD, DilliDalli and more
  173. 1949 Elce (France) We cannot find a webpage for them.
  174. 1949 LBI (Chatsworth, CA) Optical lens distributor and eyewear. Family owned and operated, member of The Vision Council and can be seen at Vision Expos.
  175. 1949 Longe Optical (Ft. Wayne, Indiana) 4 store optical retailer that has an optical lab.
  176. 1950 Barberini Lenses (Italy) Optical Lens company this is just now branching out to eyewear.
  177. 1950 Dorillat (France) Luxury eyewear, can be seen at European trade shows.
  178. 1950 iloves Eyewear (Italy)
  179. 1950 Inui Lens Company (Japan)
  180. 1950 Louis Stone Eyewear (UK) Established in 1950, they also offer optical equipment and accessories.
  181. 1950 Trenti (Italy) Eyewear company
  182. 1950 Essequadro Eyewear (Italy) Eyewear company.
  183. 1950 Libuda Optic World (Germany)
  184. 1951 Pierre Marly (Paris, France) Pierre Marly is one of the best known eyewear designers in the world. His optical store is still in existence and continues to make bespoke eyewear.
  185. 1951 Canada Optical Supply  (Montreal)
  186. 1952 Ossip Optometry (Indiana, USA) 37 store regional optical chain.
  187. 1952 Ottica Urbani (Venice, Italy) Optical retailer who makes bespoke as well as their own optical brand.

    Ottica Urbani
  188. 1952 Refac Optical Group (Fort Lee, NJ) Retails optical products in the US. Two divisions, Consumer Vision and Managed Vision. The Consumer Vision division retails optical products to consumers, and owns and/or operates integrated eye health centers, professional optometric practices, and surgical facilities in the State of Connecticut. The Managed Vision contracts with insurers, employer groups, managed care plans, HMOs, and third-party payers to manage claims payment and other administrative services of eye health benefits (Bloomburg)
  189. 1952 A.I.T Industries Optical and Medical Equipment. (See History of A.I.T. Industries) Family owned and operated. Attends Optical Trade Shows and member of The Vision Council 
  190. 1953 Rem Eyewear (Sun Valley, CA) Started by Efraim Remba in 1953, it was then sold to Gerry and Shirley Hundert in 1971. Sold again to De Rigo in 2016. Member of The Vision Council and exhibits at Optical Trade Shows.
  191. 1953 Wissing (Germany) Eyewear company know for their brightly colored eyeglasses. Attends optical trade shows.
  192. 1954 Bernell (Mishawaka, IN) Low Vision and Vision Therapy equipment and supplies.
  193. 1954 Coburn Technologies (CT) Optical equipment
  194. 1954 SunReeve Company (Japan) Eyewear company.
  195. 1954 VSP Founded by optometrists in California. VSP-Marchon are members of The Vision Council and can be seen at Optical Trade Shows.
  196. 1955 General Optical (Spain) Estimated 300 store optical chain owned by DeRigo Optical.
  197. 1955 Gafa Vintage (Madrid, Spain) Vintage eyewear retailer
  198. 1955 Eugene Harper (OD) Waynesville, North Carolina.
  199. 1955 Younger Optics (Torrance, CA) Lens manufacturer that invented the ‘Worlds First Seamless Bifocal.’ Family owned and operated.
  200. 1955 1955 Italian Eyewear Company (Italy) We assume with the name they were started in 1955.
  201. 1955 Opdo Walter Sengespeick (Germany)
  202. 1955 Eugene Harpe OD opens in Waynesville, NC. Optical retailer.
  203. 1956 Charmant Group (Japan) Eyewear company and manufacturer. Known for their titanium frames.
  204. 1956 Gafa Vintage (Madrid, Spain) Vintage eyewear retailer.
  205. 1956 Hilco (Plainview, MA) ‘Hilsinger was founded in Attleboro, MA by Arthur Hilsinger Sr., Arthur Hilsinger, Jr., and Herbert P. Nelson. In its initial phase the company’s business was the design and manufacture of decorative aluminum and plastic parts for eyewear frames. Soon thereafter, the company began to manufacture molded plastic nose pads for metal frames and developed a series of optical accessories products, repair parts, and tools for eye care professional. Attends Optical Trade Shows, member of The Vision Council. Purchased Jonathan Paul eyewear in 2016.
  206. 1957 Metzger Eyecare (Florence, Kentucky) Eyecare provider
  207. 1957 Dupage Optical (Adddison, Illinois) Eyecare provider
  208. 1958 Cooper Companies although their entry into the optical industry was in 1971 with the launch of their soft contact lens.
  209. 1958 Christian Dalloz Creations (France) Sunoptics: optical lens manufacturer. 2001 Essilor invested in the company. Detailed history on Funding Universe
  210. 1958 Fujita Optical (Japan)
  211. 1958 Hakugen Company (Japan) Eyewear company.
  212. 1958 Kaneko Optical (Japan) Optical retailer and manufacturer with 28 optical stores.
  213. 1958 Scott Sports (Utah) Sporting goods company that also has sports sunwear.
  214. 1959 Alison Eyewear (Italy) distributor of luxury eyewear brands. Licensed brands include Moschino, Vivienne Westwood, Missoni, will.i.am, Replay, United Colors of Benetton, Sisley and Kiton. Now known as AVM Eyewear
  215. 1959 Halley and Sons Spectacle Makers (Italy) Optical Retailers who make Bespoke horn eyewear.
  216. 1959 Quality Optical Service (West Palm Beach, FL) optical surfacing lab
  217. 1960 Vuarnet Eyewear (France)
  218. 1960 Courreges (France) Courreges was a designer who is known for space age fashion. His Slit-Aleutian-Futuristic  eyewear is coveted today among eyewear fans. Distributed by Mad Vision as of 2017.
  219. 1960 Gibson Eyewear (Australia) Eyewear distributor
  220. 1960 Rohm Optik Group (Germany)
  221. 1960 Luzerne Optical Lab (Wilkes Barre, PA) opens. Independent lab which is still family owned and operated.
  222. 1961 Neostyle Eyewear (Germany) Eyewear company known for the Nautic which was worn by Elvis Presley. They also make solid gold frames.
  223. 1961 Hayashi Company (Japan)
  224. 1961 Luxottica opens (Italy) The largest eyewear company in the world. Merged with Essilor in 2016
  225. 1961 WestGroupe (Canada) Optical Eyewear Distributor
  226. 1961 Bescon (Korea) Contact Lens manufacturer
  227. 1961 Pen and Ink NY (Netherlands)
  228. 1961 Udo Proksch- Serge Kirchoffer launches. Distributed by Brando Eyewear started distribution in 2017.
  229. 1961 Ego Eyewear (Canada) Eyewear distributors
  230. 1962 Marshall Eyewear (Sweden) Eyewear
  231. 1962 David Clulow opens, bought by Luxottica
  232. 1962 Asia Optical Manufactory Limited (Hong Kong)
  233. 1962 Aoyama (France)
  234. 1962 Frog Eyewear (France)
  235. 1962 Gigi Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
  236. 1962 Kador (Italy)
  237. 1962 Sover (Italy)
  238. 1963 Artoptic International (NY, NY)
  239. 1963 Alexanian (Netherlands) Jeweler who makes luxury solid gold eyewear
  240. 1963 Omas Design (Italy) luxury eyewear manufacturer
  241. 1963 New Look Eyewear (Canada) Retail chain
  242. 1963 Kering launched. Kering owns many top fashion brands including Stella McCartney, Puma and more. Took back their brands to market in 2015.
  243. 1963 Chu Kong Optical Manufactory launched (Hong Kong)
  244. 1963 Eyeline Australia Eyewear.
  245. 1963 Britalia Optical (Poughkeepsie, NY)
  246. 1963 Optex Eyewear (New South Wales, Australia)
  247. 1964 OPSM (Australia) optical chain launched, purchased by Luxottica in 2015.
  248. 1964 Omas Design (Italy ) Eyewear
  249. 1964 Sunoptical Co (Japan)
  250. 1964 Lesca Lunetier (France) Eyewear company
  251. 1964 Silhouette (Austria) distributed in the United States by Avante-Garde, which is now Luxottica.
  252. 1964 Columbus Optical (Columbus, Indiana) Eyecare professional
  253. 1965 Pro Optics (Palatine, Illinois) Accessory line
  254. 1965 Sedrak Optics (Egypt) Regional retail optical chain.
  255. 1965 Aspex Eyewear (Canada) and distributed in the United States out of Miramar, Florida.
  256. 1965 Nagai Co (Japan)
  257. 1965 Leela Optik (Thailand) Eyewear and sunwear store in Thailand.
  258. 1965 Smith Optics (ID) which is now owned and distributed by Safilo.
  259. 1965 CeMo (France) Sunglass company.
  260. 1965 Aigner Eyewear (Korea)
  261. 1966 Optica Fukui (Japan)
  262. 1966 Karavan Production (France) Eyewear company
  263. 1966 Sasaki Celluloid Ind (Japan
  264. 1966 Stylrite Optical Industries (India) Exhibits at Hong Kong and Silmo
  265. 1966 Helbrecht Optics (Germany) Give back eyewear company. Relaunch in 1992.
  266. 1966 Prego Eyewear (Denmark) Eyewear company that exhibits in Munchen
  267. 1967 Hakim Optical (Canada) small optical chain with laboratory.
  268. 1967 Krys Group (France) optical chain that also has a give back foundation.
  269. 1967 US Vision founded. Owned by Refac Group, one of the largest optical retailers in the United States.
  270. 1967 Centennial Optical (Canada) launched. Distributor of optical goods.
  271. 1967 Castellani Occhiali (Italy) Has been seen at Mido optical trade show.
  272. 1968 SZiola Optic Fashion (Munich, Germany) as seen at Munich trade show
  273. 1968 Lastes Eyewear Group (Italy)
  274. 1968 Cutler and Gross (UK) luxury optical retailer and wholesaler.
  275. 1968 National Optometric Association (North Carolina) Trade Association.
  276. 1969 Sunshade Eyewear (Australia) Eyewear company Gives back to Cancer
  277. 1969 Nakanishi Optical (Japan) Optical manufacturer that can be seen at optical trade shows.
  278. 1969 Fukui Megane Industry (Japan) Eyewear manufacturer that can be seen at Hong Kong optical trade show.
  279. 1969 Luxol Occhialeria (Italy) Eyewear company that can be seen at Vision Expo and Hong Kong optical trade shows
  280. 1969 Emmanuel Khahn Paris (France) Designer with a famous eyewear look.
  281. 1969 Pan Oceanic Eyewear (New York, NY) Eyewear distributors

Re-Disclaimer: We did not or could not investigate all the Asian eyewear manufacturers and companies. We did not investigate all optical lenses, optical labs and equipment. There are most likely numerous eyecare professionals around the world that also belong here.

Apologies to any company we missed. If you would like to be added, make a comment below with your history and link.

Other Resources:

Luikerwaal: listing of magic lantern suppliers, many of which were opticians.

Bird Forum: links to optical glass companies

 

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