Most of the antique equipment displayed at our store was actually used at one time for testing, refracting, fabricating and dispensing for our own patients, since 1951, or was purchased by our company from old independents that retired or went out of business. Many times, over the course of the many years we’ve been in practice, we have purchased complete inventories from other optical companies and like true West Virginians, we never threw anything away.
In the 197O's we ran a wholesale laboratory that serviced the tri-state area of Ohio, Kentucky and WV and as a result acquired a lot of grinding equipment that we now display in our showroom.
We also display vintage eyewear from the revolutionary war up through the 198O's.
People are fascinated by our civil war era displays and period frames as well as the lenses that they used in that time. There are a lot of people who collect these items and many have donated part of their collections to our showroom. There is also a fascination with 1940’s – 1960’s era frames among young people that wear them for a fashion statement. The 1970’s produced the big frame and perhaps the trend leader at the time was a material called Optyl which could be heated to unusual shapes but when reheated it would return to its original design. These frames were often heated and stuffed into bottles and then reheated in the bottle to return to their original condition which would leave you wondering “how did they do that”.
A lot of our old inventory is used by theater companies for plays and productions in the area.
Old horn rim and cat eye frames are making a come back today and are being reproduced by modern manufactures and worn by the fashion trend setters. “What goes around comes around!”
Some of the 18th and 19th century frames on display in our antique museum are really rare collectables. You must see the old sport goggles and the very rare set of early 20th century contact lenses that were worn, according to the fellow who donated them, by a minor leaguer for the Cincinnati Reds. They are really enormous, about the size of a standard marble. We also feature a collection of early Lorgnettes and opera glasses. From Andy Warhol type plastics to John Lennon type metals, everything is represented here.
Most of the antique instruments and machines date from the 194O’s through the 1970ts and some have some real unique stories behind them, like the Goburn generator that features the original slide thickness gauge that according to our sources was added by Angus Ross of Ross Burks Optical of Huntington, WV.
We specialize in restoring antique frames and fabricating prescriptions into them often for civil war reenactments.
You can contact us at 304-733-0101