American Optical History
AO Monoplex Plastic Artificial Eye Divison

Recollections of Stephen Haddad
and AO Monoplex Eye
August 2010


Thank you so much for the abundant amount of AO history you sent to me. I truly appreciate you taking the time to send all the attachments. I feel fortunate to have you there keeping the AO memories alive with the great work you have done with the AO Museum.

I began working at AO Monoplex the week before my 20th birthday in 1979 after graduating from the Optician's program at Worcester Industrial Technical Institute which closed it's doors approximately 10 years ago. AO's plan was to train me to be the next Monoplex Manager following Robert Cote, the current manager at the time. Bob sent me to Atlanta in 1983 to open a Monoplex Fitting center and then I was transfered back to Southbridge in 1986 to replace Bob as he retired.

I wanted so much for management to take greater interest in my plan to open more fitting centers in the Northeast but it was never going to happen. As the wholesale part (selling pre-made stock eyes) of the business steadily declined I saw the writing on the wall and realized my future with AO was uncertain. They also had no interest in selling Monoplex for anything less than an amount equal to 2 years revenues.

I left AO in 1991 on a one month notice to go to Los Angeles to purchase the Practice of Oscar Robert Levy. O.D., an optometrist who left optometry to practice ocularistry full time in the 1950's.  His original training was at AO Monoplex!

Within the same month in 1991 Peter Kazanovich, the young man who worked under me also left AO Monoplex to purchase a private practice in Bedford, New Hampshire. Monoplex was left in a difficult situation but AO was fortunate to be able to get Bob Cote back from retirement. Bob Cote was truly dedicated to American Optical. He is a great man to whom I owe much of my success to due to the way he taught me.

Bob Cote lives in Florida in the winter and Cape Cod in the Summer. We got together last summer on Cape Cod. It was so nice to see him.

AO contacted me approximately 10 years ago and offered to sell Monoplex at the cost of inventory. That would have been a dream come true to me in 1991. While it was so tempting and truly a gift waiting to be received I declined in order to stay focused on my Los Angeles business.

AO Monoplex was finally sold to Peter Kazanovicz in approximately the year 2000? Peter operates the Monoplex fitting center in Sturbridge, MA along with his Bedford , N.H. clinic.

To the best of my knowledge Monoplex had only four Managers from the time it began in the 1940's until it was sold at the Millennium.

Starting from the Beginning..... Fritz Jardon, H.Rodger Alton, Robert Cote, Stephen Haddad.

Thanks again Dick for getting in touch with me. Hopefully I'll get to meet you on one of my trips back to Massachuetts.


Stephen Haddad

Optical Heritage Museum 1970s photo of AO monoplex eyes being painted by Roland Proulx

More about AO Monoplex Eyes

Recollection about a Monoplex eye patient

Click Here for other AO Recollections

AO "In Memory of Page"- Honoring Employees who are deceased

2009 info on "AO" Monoplex eye;

Monoplex Eye Prosthetics LLC
54 Main St # 4
Sturbridge, MA 01566
(508) 347-3818

Dick Whitney July 21, 2010

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