Honor Roll of Distinguished Persons

Our website is dedicated to these pioneers of spectacle research

People from the past who dedicated time to collect, study, and then write about the developmental history of these antique vision aids. Of note, six of them presented lectures at the 1929 International Ophthalmologic Congress in Amsterdam devoted to this topic. We wish to acknowledge, support, and advance their vision and ideals so that people around the world will share greater respect for the ingenious invention of spectacles. If a book were ever to be written which described the elite individuals who could be in a Hall of Fame as the founders of this hobby, these people would be recognized.

Indicates individuals who had a spectacle collection.

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Name Dates Image Information & Contribution
Professor Dr. Giuseppe Albertotti 1851 - 1936   Professor Dr. Giuseppe Albertotti Padova, Italy
  • Oculist, writer, scientist and humanist
  • Founder of the Italian Ophthalmological Society, 1879
  • Professor of Ophthalmology 1885-1905 Modena University
  • Was one of the first to use the ophthalmoscope
  • Wrote the Italian version of the Daza de Valdez book in 1898 from the French version of 1700.
  • Investigated spectacles
  • Was a precise surgeon who was the first in Italy to use Barraquer’s erysiphake.
Ahlström, Otto 1893-1964 individual who had a spectacle collection Ahlström, Otto Stockholm,  Sweden
  • Wrote:
    • Synverktyg fran äldre Tider (Instruments for Sight from Older Times), Foreningen Stockholms Specialoptiker, 1943
    • Glasögen i Nordiska museet jämte en översikt av Glasögontypernas utveckling, 1947
    • Edward Scarlett's Focus Marks, The Optician, July 1951
  • His father was an optician who ran a famous optical store in Stockholm
  • Joined his father’s profession and ran two stores in Stockholm
  • Began a collection of historical optical instruments which led to an Optical museum in the old town of Stockholm
  • 1946/47 had an exhibition of spectacles in the Nordic Museum
  • for the exhibit he won the Hazelius Medal in silver from the museum. Artur Hazelius was the founder of this museum which is the National Museum of Cultural History in Sweden.
Daza de Valdes, Licentiate Benito 1591-1634   Daza de Valdes, Licentiate Benito Cordoba and Seville, Spain
  • He belonged to the Order of Jacobin Friars
  • Renowned 17th century optometrist
  • Wrote the first book (monograph) on spectacles, Vso de los Antonios para todo genero de vistas: en que se ensena a conocer los grados que a cada unlo faltan de su vista, 1623. Forshortened title in English Is “The Use of Spectacles”. It is extremely rare and is considered as a Spanish classic. It described the state of spectacle making in the early 17th century.
  • From a professional point of view he may be considered the world’s first optometrist and optician, the Father of Optometry.
  • He was a notary of the Holy Office (Inquisition) in the city of Seville.
Dr. Edward C. Bull 1871-1931 individual who had a spectacle collection Dr. Edward Charles Bull Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Collector beginning 1889, then devoted his lifetime to study of antique spectacles
  • Opened branch offices for E.B.Meyerwitz in London and Paris in the early 1900s.
  • His oldest brother George was considered the leading European opthalmologist of his time
  • Was an ardent and avid collector, accumulating a significant group of quite unusual objects.
  • Major pieces of his major collection were marked “L1090”
  • His collection was recognized in the American Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Ophthalmology Chicago, 1915.
  • Was considered to be one of the earliest of the American spectacles collectors
  • Became curator of the Junior Museum of the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History
Davidson, Derek 1914-1999 individual who had a spectacle collection Davidson, Derek London, England
  • Founder of the OAICC, founded 1982
  • Spent a lifetime in the spectacle trade as a dispensing optician with several practices.
  • Involved with producing customized handmade spectacles.
  • Was a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
  • Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers.
  • Built a large private collection
  • Wrote extensively on the subject
  • Gave talks, appeared on radio and TV
Dunscombe, Matthew W. 1841-1918 individual who had a spectacle collection Dunscombe, Matthew W. London, England
  • Was the world's first great collector of antique and unusual spectacles.
  • Avid collector, author, spectacle specialist, optician, optologist
  • Was an enthusiast in all optical matters
  • His firm had been established in 1797
  • Exhibited his spectacle collection and received honorable mention 1867
  • Wrote Vision and Spectacles, 1875
  • Was one of the founder members of the British Optical Association, 1895
  • His internationally acclaimed collection was awarded a gold medal at the Victoria Era exhibition, 1897
  • Designed the forerunner of the “Kryptok” bifocal, an invisible bifocal with inserted segments
  • Was the cofounder of the Kryptok Company, 1905
  • His world famous collection was displayed at the Brussels International Exhibition of 1910 but was completely destroyed by fire
  • His main collection went to the Science Museum, London
  • His son, Osmond W. Dunscombe, gifted 100 items to the BOA museum in 1932
Greeff, Professor Karl Richard 1862-1938 individual who had a spectacle collection Greeff, Professor Karl Richard Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany
  • Ophthalmologist who studied optical history
  • Collected ophthalmic antiques
  • Claimed that George Adams of Fleet Street, London invented the lorgnette, 1780
  • Staged a large public exhibition in Heidelberg in 1913
  • Founder, editor of “Zeitschrift fur Ophthalmologische Optik”
  • Wrote:
    • Lehrbuch der Formen und Fassungen der Augengläser, 1925
    • Die Historische Entwickelung der Brille, 1930
    • Aus der Geschichte der Brille, 1933
    • Der Augenoptikerlehrling Weimar 1938
  • Patron of the Zeiss Museum at Jena, Germany
  • Co-editor of the “Archiv für Augenheilkunde
  • Was a major presenter at the International Ophthalmologic Congress, Amsterdam 1929
Hallauer, Professor Dr. Otto 1866-1948 individual who had a spectacle collection Basel, Switzerland
  • Ophthalmologist studied the history of spectacles
  • Studied medicine in Zurich, Wuerzburg, and Berlin
  • Began practice as an Ophthalmologist in 1892
  • Began to collect spectacles about 1900
  • His collection of spectacles was displayed at the International Congress of Ophthalmology in Lucerne, Switzerland, 1904
  • Became a professor at the University of Basel in 1921
  • His extensive collection of around 1000 items was donated to the University of Bern Medical School
  • His collection was a major source of the illustrations for W. Poulet, Atlas on the History of Spectacles Vol. 1
  • His research activities resulted in the development of special glasses protecting against ultraviolet radiation
  • Was a major presenter at the International Ophthalmologic Congress, Amsterdam 1929
Schloss, Alice Babette, widow of Abraham (Alfred) Heymannn Died 1925 individual who had a spectacle collection Schloss, Alice Babette, widow of Abraham (Alfred) Heymannn  Paris, France
  • Investigator who pointed out for the first time the Vittore Pisano sketch circa 1417 in the Louvre, Paris, France which shows the earliest representation of "cap" spectacles.
  • Wrote Lunettes et lorgnettes de Jadis, 1911
  • Was married to a prominent ophthalmologist
Hofstetter, Henry 1914-2002   Hofstetter, Henry Indiana, U.S.A.
  • Optometrist, historian, educator
  • His Ph.D. in Physiologic Optics (1942) was the first granted in the U.S.
  • “International Optometrist of the Year” 1991
  • Wrote 4 textbooks and over 500 papers
  • Was a past president of the American Optometric Association
  • A founder of the Optometric Historical Society and was the Editor of their newsletter for 30 years
  • Received 5 honorary doctorates
  • Received the Distinguished Service Award from the World Council of Optometry, 1999
Ilardi, Professor Vincent 1925-2009   Ilardi, Professor Vincent
  • Professor Emeritus of History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Renaissance scholar.
  • Main area of study was the diplomatic correspondence of the Dukes of Milan
  • Published almost 10 articles on the early Florence industry in the manufacture of the high quality eyeglasses. That city was apparently the “Optical Capital of the World”.
  • Wrote the monumental book Renaissance Vision from Spectacles to Telescopes, published by the American Philosophical Society in 2007
  • Won the John Frederic Lewis Award as the best publication of the American Philosophical Society for the year 2006.
Lundsgaard, Professor Dr. Konrad 1867-1931   Lundsgaard, Professor Dr. Konrad
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    • Professor of Ophthalmology Frederick Hospital Clinic 1925
    • A founder of “ Acta Ophthalmologica”
    • Wrote historical essays on eyeglasses and cataract surgery
    • Studied under Tscherning
    • Was a major presenter at the International Ophthalmologic Congress, Amsterdam 1929
Neubert, Frank Albert Perhaps deceased in the 1950's individual who had a spectacle collection Neubert, Frank Albert Southport, England
  • Optician, private collector
  • Was in optics for many years
  • Received a silver medal for an exhibition in 1900
  • Was a pioneer collector who joined the BOA in 1924.
  • 200 pieces of outstanding interest and rarity from his collection were sold to the BOA Museum in 1929
  • Qualified FSMC before taking the BOA Fellowship
Orr, Hugh 1905-2002 individual who had a spectacle collection Orr, Hugh London, England
  • Ophthalmic optician
  • Began collecting in 1935
  • Second member of the OAICC, founded 1982
  • Wrote Illustrated History of Early Spectacles, 1985
  • Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
  • Fellow of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians, (Optometrists)
  • Honorary Curator of the BOA Museum in 1990
Ramstein, Max 1890-1973 individual who had a spectacle collection Max Ramstein Basel, Switzerland
  • Was in optics from 1890-1973
  • second in a family optician’s business now in its 4th generation
  • Founder of the private Ramstein Collection of instruments, books, prints, and spectacles beginning in 1910
Rasmussen, Otto 1888-1970 Otto Rasmussen Williamstown, Victoria, Australia
  • Went to China probably in 1902 - 1904
  • Was an optician there and later in England – known professionally as “O. D. Rasmussen
  • Trained as an eye surgeon in the USA
  • Beginning in 1908, he did 25 years of research regarding Chinese eyesight concluding that only 20% of all lenses supplied were for presbyopia, 65% were for myopia and 15% were for glare and therapeutics
  • Fit Pu-Yi, the Boy-Emperor, (Hsuan Tung) for spectacles while he was in exile in Tientsin. (1929 newspaper article). Then this was supposedly depicted in the film "The Last Emperor."
  • Wrote:
    Old Chinese Spectacles, 1915
    Chinese Eyesight and Spectacles, 1946
Rathschuler, Fritz 1902-1995 individual who had a spectacle collection Rathschuler, Fritz Graz, Austria
  • Collector since 1926 for over 60 years
  • Dedicated his life to the study of glasses
  • Wrote on the subject
  • Opened an optical shop in 1927 in Genova, Italy which is still there today
  • The Luxottica Museum in Agordo now has his collection
  • His collection is described in La Lente: storia, scienza, curiosità attraverso la collezione Fritz Rathschuler: catalogo della mostra, Genova, 5 marzo-5 giugno 1988, Museo civico di storia naturale “G. Doria.”
Ronchi, Professor Vasco 1897-1988   Ronchi, Professor Vasco Florence, Italy
  • Wrote Optics, the Science of Vision (Italian edition 1955, English edition 1957, French edition 1966)
  • Between 1919 and 1985 he was a prolific author who wrote over 60 books and hundreds of articles
  • Leading physicist of optics and eyeglasses, in particular.
  • Founder of the Fondazione Giorgio Ronchi, which publishes a bi-monthly Italian optical scientific journal since 1946
  • Founder of several schools of Optometry in Italy
  • 12-year president of the International Group of Philosophy and History of Science of UNESCO
  • Director of National Institute of Optics 1926–1975
  • Most valuable scientific contribution was the Ronchi Test
  • Awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government, 1966
Rosen, Professor Edward 1906-1985   Rosen, Professor Edward New York, U.S.A
  • Columbia 1929, Ph.D. 1939, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Editor and translator,” Three Copernican Treatises” 1939
  • Professor Emeritus of History, City College of New York
  • Wrote “The Invention of Eyeglasses”
  • Was one of the world’s leading authorities on Copernicus and the origins of modern astronomy
J. William Rosenthal, MD 1922-2007 individual who had a spectacle collection J. William Rosenthal, MD Louisiana, USA
  • Member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology for 52 years.
  • Founding member of the Museum of Vision, AAO, San Francisco
  • Ophthalmic Consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History
  • Board of Trustees Member, American Optical Company Museum, Southbridge, MA
  • First President of the Ocular Heritage Society
  • Authored the textbook “Spectacles and Other Vision Aids: A History and Guide to Collecting”.
  • Member and lecturer of the prestigious Cogan Ophthalmic History Society
  • Donated optical objects to seventeen museums
  • Spent his lifetime contributing to ophthalmic history
Simon de Guilleuma, Dr. Josep Maria 1886-1965 individual who had a spectacle collection Simon de Guilleuma, Dr. Josep Maria Barcelona, Spain
  • Was a major presenter at the International Ophthalmologic Congress, Amsterdam 1929
  • Obtained his M.D. at the University of Barcelona 1909
  • Obtained his doctorate in Medicine in Madrid
  • Was an ophthalmologist in private practice beginning 1911
  • Became acting director of one of the greatest mutualities of Barcelona, "Quinta de Salut l'Aliança", from 1914 until his retirement
  • Affiliated with the Barcelona College of Physicians from July 1920 – Dec, 1965
  • Traveled the continent and bought a great number of extraordinary antique spectacles and frames
  • Acquired in 1925 the original surgical instruments used in the cataract operation of Jacobus Daviel (1693-1762).
Sutcliffe, John Hamer 1867-1940   London, England
  • Optometrist in an ophthalmic optical practice in Lancashire
  • Traveled a great deal internationally
  • Had many international Masonic links
  • Editor of the Dioptric Review
  • First full-time Secretary of the B.O.A.
  • Spoke of “an optical house beautiful” in 1901
  • Founder of the B.O.A. Museum, circa 1914
  • For more than four years acted as the Superintendent of The Army Spectacle Depot during World War 1
  • Wrote: B.O.A. Library, Library and Museum Catalogue, London, 1932
Von Pflugk, Professor Albert 1866- 1946 individual who had a spectacle collection Von Pflugk, Professor Albert Dresden, Germany
  • Ophthalmologist, collector, numismatist, historian, Spectacle researcher
  • Patron of the Zeiss Museum in Jena, Germany
  • Portions of his collection were donated to the B.O.A.
  • Co-publisher of journal “Zeitschrift fur Ophthalmologische Optik”
  • Wrote many articles on the history of spectacles
  • After his death, the Carl Zeiss Foundation purchased his extensive collection
  • Wrote: Farbige, insbesondere grüne Gläser als Augenschutz (dedicated to von Rohr about historical colored spectacles glasses), Berlin 1929
  • Was a major presenter at the International Ophthalmologic Congress, Amsterdam, 1929
Von Rohr, Professor Moritz 1868-1940 individual who had a spectacle collection Von Rohr, Professor Moritz Jena, Germany
  • Optical historian
  • Wrote an outstanding 1897 book regarding optical design of photographic objective lenses
  • Wrote:
    • Die Binokularen Instrumente (1907 & 1920 for the 2nd edition
    • Die Brille als Optisches Instrument (Leipzig 1911)
    • Das Auge und Die Brille (Leipzig 1912)
    • Das Brillenglas, Berlin 1934
  • Greatest achievement was the famous Zeiss “Punktal” spectacle lenses
  • Appointed professor of optics and medicine 1913
  • Wrote over 500 articles, essays, and reviews on all aspects of optics, many were on the history of spectacles
  • Patron of the Zeiss Museum at Jena, Germany
Weve, Professor Dr. Henricus Jacobus Maria 1888-1962 individual who had a spectacle collection Weve, Professor Dr. Henricus Jacobus Maria Utrecht, Holland
  • Selected to the chair of Ophthalmology in Utrecht 1929
  • A gifted surgeon who became a famous retinal surgeon
  • Rectus Magnificus at Utrecht University 1949-50
  • Wrote over 200 papers and spoke 5 languages
  • Gave his collection of spectacles, ophthalmic instruments, and books to the University Museum, Utrecht.
  • His merits for ophthalmology are acknowledged and also there are two photos of him in the Duke Elder’s System of Ophthalmology, Vol. X, Diseases of the Retina, 1967.
  • Director of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital, Oogzieknhuis, Rotterdam
  • Was a major presenter at the International Ophthalmologic Congress, Amsterdam 1929

Please note that a foundation, the Prof. Dr. H.J.M. Weve Stichting, started in 1964, gives money to eye-disease projects connected to the Third World. The countries where they do their work are Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bulgaria, India and Cameroon. This is a worthy cause and if anyone reading this would like to make any type of contribution, Dr. David will place you in contact with the proper responsible authorities.


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