American Optical History Table of Contents


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The People of AO 

In Memory Of:
Recalling those AO employees who have passed on

AO Recollections -
Rev 30-Mar-16

Events / timeline of AO's history

Product Firsts at AO

Recollections of AO -

AO Ophthalmic History

Premier of Oklahoma in NYC was Oct 11, 1955 - 60 years ago
First Todd AO Film, process developed in Southbridge, MA

Dick Whitney with Will Hicks in Nov 2014 photo

Laser Focus World Jeff Hecht obit on Will HIcks

OHM/IEEE Oct 26, 2012 Event in Southbridge to Honor AO Fiber Optics/Eli Snitzer / Will Hicks

 Download Southbridge News July 2014 article on the Optical  Heritage Museum

AO's 1921 Article titled "The story in a pair of Spectacles"
(3.5 mb pdf download)

How and why AO First made spectacle lenses in mass in 1888

Dr Estelle Glancy in her own words! - AO and Evolution of a Lens Designer

AO Frames

AO Paintings

AO Main Plant Demolition ("DOD Project" /
Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center) Construction

Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center - Former AO Main Plant

Clarifying when AO closed in Southbridge

AO Main Plant History

The AO Reunion of May 28, 2002

AO -Photos of "Then and Now"

  AO Reunion Luncheons

Interactive Maps of AO complex, Walking to

JFK's Glasses with AO Executive lenses and the letter rec'd by AO on the Day of his Assasination!

Tour and Optical Related sites in Southbridge

AO's Lensometer - a ground breaking invention for Ophthalmic Optics 

AO Southbridge Facilities

View Historical Listings / Timelines in American Optical's History

 AO's Ophthalmic Lens Designers-
Dr. Tillyer, Dr. Estelle Glancy and more!

 AO Main Plant ~1910, with clear view of the Grand Trunk Railway-

AO Sculpture

AO History Chronology Slideshow -
8mb Download of executable

AO's Anti-reflection coating development / product historical info

AO and WWII war effort 

 OHM info onf U.S.Presidents and their Eyeglassews

AO Family Day photos from 1974

1907 and 1908 Photos of AO, Bausch and Lomb and Zeiss Mgt/  article on 1888 Tarriff for importing lenses to US.

AO History as described in 1933 Document

Brochure from ~1960 titled "This is AO"

American Flags at AO

American Optical logos' through the year

AO Management Photo by the Main Plant - ~late 1920's early 1930s
Donated by Jim Alden

AO's first National Sales Meeting - Dec 29-31st, 1968
(Held at Southbridge High School)
Download Book provided by Wade Cloyd

AO "Then and Now"

The AO Southbridge Powerhouse

The AO Southbridge Warehouse

William Beecher -
The founder of AO in 1833

AO "The Descision is Yours" booklet against Unionization - Feb 1962


The "AO" Optical Heritage Museum

Optical Heritage Museum slideshow
5mb Download of executable
Click on screen to advance slide

AO Low Vision Aids

Don Whitney and Ophthalmic Optics

Dick Whitney and Ophthalmic Optics

Glass Executive Manufacturing prior to Southbridge Closure
Longest running ophthalmic product line in AO's history

AO's Permalite coating (1980)
Worlds first tintable, abrasion resistant coating for plastic lenses

AO's Photolite lens - Worlds first plastic photochromic lens

AO and Anti-Reflection Coatings

AO / Polarized lenses

AO News 1965 and 1966 Covers

AO Fire Department

AO Clubs

Premier of Oklahoma in NYC was Oct 11, 1955
First Todd AO Film, process developed in Southbridge, MA

 AO Fiber Optics
  Details of IEEE Oct 26th Southbridge event honoring AO Fiber Optics / Dr. Elias Snitzer

AO Scientific Instruments

Dr. Bernie Grolman 2002 Interview on his Non Contact Tonometer Invention (provided by David Taylor)

AO  Clock - Time set in 1916 synchronized by Radio

AO Glass Plant

AO Frames Sales Force of 1947

AO Safety

AO Putnam CT Plant

Dave LaMarre / Wes Reed Article on AO Sunglass History (1975)

Ear Protection Boston Herald article - April 1962

AO & Lens Impact Strength


AO Monoplex Plastic Eye Division info / 1949 Brochure /recollections
Rev 15-Aug-12

1971 AO Product Directory Catalogue

Pope Pius XII and his gift - AO Glasses in early 1950s

A look inside the AO Main Plant Clock Tower


AO Southbridge Facilities

AO Flood's - 1938 and 1955 Destruction at Southbridge Facility
Download Audio Excerpt of WESO August 19, 1955 Broadcast taped by Robert Haynes

Ophthalmic Industry Heritage Info

Recollections of Former AO Employees
Stories are welcome!

AO Reunion Group photo (Courtesty of Village Photo)

AO WWII 1944 Vision Article

AO 1933 Jon Swanson Medallion
Courtesy or Jay \Galst

Don Whitney 1958 Talk
on AOLITE (AO's CR-39 plastic lenses)

AO's Medical Department -

Family photo in front of the AO Main Plant in the Fall of 1954

AO Images of Days Gone By

AO Wellsworth Workers "Americanization" Education  - April 1926

Check out Mass Moments Look back at AO's 150th (June 18, 1983)

The June 1983 AO Parade - celebrating 150 years!!

Photos of AO Employees in the 1920's ?

Snapshots in Time (Past Regional Newspaper Coverage describing AO)

Excerpts / Articles of Interest from the American Optical News

Quinebaug Valley Historical Society Text (G.Wells 1909 Speeches)

AO Life Publication (1930 Excerpts)

The AOCentenial Historical Publications (1933)

125th Anniversary Articles (1958)

150th Anniversary Historical Notes (1983)

AO Stock certificate from 1869 - Courtesy of the
Optical Heritage Museum

Learn about the underground Tunnel on the AO Complex

Photos of the Fall, Winter, and Spring at AO Southbridge (1999-2000 photos)

About the Author (Dick Whitney) and his AO Background 
My 39th year Anniversary with AO/CZV on 9/16/13


Ocular Heritage Society

Interested in the History Antique Spectacles?

Copyright 1998 - 2016 Dick Whitney. All rights reserved.
Dick Whitney

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