Eyeglass lens production 100 years ago

Did You Know…

…that ZEISS Has Been Revolutionizing Vision For 100 Years?


William of Baskerville donned a visual aid to when he wanted to read a book thoroughly. The object that elicited astonished whispers in the medieval abbey in “The Name of the Rose” is taken for granted today: eyeglasses. Back in the 13th century, glasses were made of beryl, in addition to quartz and rock crystal. In the years that followed, numerous eyeglass types evolved: rivet spectacles, scissor glasses, and monocles are only some of the many ways to provide a suitable frame for the lenses. The eyeglass frames with earpieces as we know them today established themselves in the early 18th century.

Starting on 1 April 1912, ZEISS revolutionized the eyewear market with PUNKTAL®, the first precision eyeglass lens. This lens facilitated crystal clear vision for the first time regardless of the viewing direction. In 1935, the company patented the durable anti-reflective coating for optical surfaces that has been increasing light transmission in lenses and improving the wearers’ vision since 1959. In 1970, the eyeglass lens manufacturer began offering eyeglass lenses made of phototropic, brown mineral glass that darkened when subjected to light, an innovation developed jointly with its sister company Schott. For the severely visually impaired, ZEISS introduced a visual aid to the market in 1979 with 3.8x magnification based on Kepler telescopes.

The goal of achieving better eyeglass performance and wearing comfort continued to spur the company to new ideas, including individual progressive lenses, thinner and lighter lenses, and new coatings to repel dirt and make eyeglasses scratch resistant. Today, extremely accurate measurements and precise manufacturing techniques enable the production of eyeglass lenses that are as individual as the eye itself. Two hundred million people around the world wear glasses with lenses from ZEISS, with two new wearers being added every second. They all benefit from the company’s products and technologies that have been revolutionizing vision for 100 years. It’s too bad that William of Baskerville is not one of them – but then again, he was just a figment of Umberto Eco’s imagination!

11 January 2012