American Optical History
AO's Ophthalmic Lens Designers


Honoring AO's Pioneer Lens Designer -Dr. Estelle Glancy

Download 1947 AO Vision Article profiling Dr. Estelle Glancy - 1mb pdf
New May 5, 2010

Dr. Estelle Glancy

May 1975 Obituary
Courtesy of Margaret Morrissey
Jacob Edwards Library

On-line JEL Photos and Dr. Glancy Obituary

Dr. Glancy joined AO in 1918, and retired in 1948. She was hired by Dr. Tillyer, who started with American Optical 2 years earlier. Dr. Glancy was a mathematician worked closely with Doc Tillyer on numerous AO lens designs, and was responsible for performing the many complex mathematical calculations involved in ophthalmic optics. At the time, the extent of her contributions may not have been fully understood by most. Her 1920 Patent on Progressive lenses was 50 years ahead of its time!

1920 Measurments on a Progressive Lens - Dr. Estelle Glancy

Dr. Estelle Glancy's 1924 AO US Patent on for a Progressive Lens

Dr. Glancy 1933 Patent image re: Decentered Optical centers!

New Apr 28, 2010 - Dr. Glancy's 1933 new product patent application 'trifocal' idea (above)

Dr. Estelle Glancy Autobiographical account  "Evolution of A Lens Designer" - Sept 1952
Courtesy of Wellesley College

Dr. Glancy's Wellsley College Yearbook entries

Dr. Glancy Background from 1948 Writeup

Dr. Glancy : AO News 1940 Article - PDF Format

Dr. Anna Estelle Glancy - 30 years with AO (1948 AO Article) - PDF Format

The image of the writing above is Dr. Glancy's November 19, 1918  initials that she put on the lower right corner of the plot below. To those knowledgable in Opthalmic Lens Design, this plot is impressive for the date is was made. The notes at the top of the plot include one of the earliest references to Dr. Glancy and Dr. Tillyer's work together, where she notes:

"...the values of Des and Det have been calculated by E.D.T."

These values are the Sagittal and Tangential Power errors for a 30 degree eye rotation angle; the work behind this plot is the result of extensive mathematical hand calculations and is impressive indeed! It must have taken months to produce this plot. This plot is also of interest, as it illustrates the importance of selecting proper lens base curves to minimize off axis optical errors. Dr. Tillyer would later use this concept to revolutionize the industry.


Click here for a sample calculation page in Dr. Glancy's book. It is in the section of the book under Wellsworth lens calculations.

Fred Joslins recalls Dr. Glancy's Advice to a young man

Dr. Glancy's 1938 Junior Lensometer manual
New 3-Mar-08 (2.2 Mb pdf file)

More about AO Lensometers

To learn more about AO's technical contributions, check out the Optical Heritage Museum Website - AO Technical Documents

Womens Contibutions in the AO Factories

Return to AO Ophthalmic Lens Designers

AO History

Southbridge Page

Whitney Home Page