American Optical History
Recollections of Former AO Employees

Walter Alan Stewart
Courtesy of the Stewart Family

Walter Stewart Remembered - Past AO President
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dear Mr. Whitney,

I happened upon your site the other day and have been sucked in and totally engrossed ever since! It all started when my mother (Elaine (Delmore) Stewart) asked my husband (Jeff Fay, a photographer) to scan in an old photo of her dad (Nuncio Paul (Pat) Delmore) from when he played in the Roseland orchestra in Boston, MA. My husband decided to do a little research on the web about some of the band members. The first one he searched for was Al LaBelle, for some reason. He was the owner of a bowling alley in Southbridge. This weird series of coincedences led him to your site. (I am learning that there are no coincidences!) We passed on your link to the rest of my brothers and sisters, one of which is Sharon Stewart, who has already written you.

It is hard to explain our surprise in finding all of your info about AO and the flood! My grandfather on my dad's side was the President and CEO of AO! HIs name is Walter Alan Stewart. My grandfather on my mom's side also worked there. His name was Nuncio Paul (Pat) Delmore. He was a Cam designer.  And my great-grandfather on my mom's side worked there, as well. His name was Giuseppi  deCarolis. He worked there as a janitor. None of these names are on your list of deceased alumni, by the way. Although, my dad is. His name is Robert (Bob) H. Stewart.

My mother and grandmother used to tell me amazing stories of the time of the flood! I can't imagine the devastation. One of your photographs of the flood was a picture of my Mom's friend, Jackie (Langevin) Jalbert's home, which was above Pete's Tavern!

I am attaching a link to several photograph's that I thought you would be interested in seeing. One is a picture of the Roseland Orchestra, with my grandfather,  Pat Delmore, on the drums. There is also one with him with the Sons of Italy Band in Southbridge.

There is one photograph of my grandfather, Walter Alan Stewart, on the cover of "Business Week" in 1950, along with the corresponding article. Feel free to copy any of the pictures and post them on your web-site and please credit "Courtesy of the Stewart Family."

I will ask my siblings if they have any additional photos to add to the link. And will inform you if we add more. The link is: ""

My husband has been a photographer for over 20 years and was blown away by the level of your Dad's photography and the quality of the slides.

Thank you for sharing them with us!


Marti Fay
Hollowtree Images Photographic Studios
15711 Mapledale Blvd., Suite A
Tampa, FL 33624
studio: 813-962-3270
web-site: ""
e-mail: ""

Hi Mr. Whitney,

I enjoyed looking at your site about American Optical.  My grandfather, Walter A. Stewart, served as president of AO for 7 years and worked with Mike Todd in developing the wide-angle lens. (It was my understanding that Todd had looked to Kodak and another company to do this, but it was my grandfather who actually took the project on.... AO was making scoping lenses during W.W.II during this period...)

Anyway, my grandfather was featured on the cover of Business Week (circa 1945) for his contributions with AO (I still have it packed in a box somewhere...).  He was a guy that believed in his people and was one of the first to introduce multidisciplined meetings (combining the heads of R&D, Sales, Marketing, Shop, Distribution, etc.) to improve the overall efficiency of the operation.  My grandmother, Helen Stewart, used to say that he was well-loved and kept the unions out, and no organization attempt was ever made during his time....

After he left, the merger with Warner Lambert took place and a whole new era began...

My grandfather was third generation optics and also oversaw English operations. He died in 1970 (or close to).  His son, (my dad), Robert Stewart, also worked with AO until he eventually went with Shuron Continental and ultimately took over an optical company in St. Pete Florida.  He died in Sept. 2001.

I own a copy of a hard-cover book called simply, "The Wells Family."  If you do not have a copy, I might be willing to donate it to the AO museum.

I hope my facts are not too screwed up! (Everything is from memory)....  But I DO thank you for putting together this site.

Best Regards,
Sharon Stewart
Tampa, Florida  33618

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