With roots going back to 1898, Winchester is the oldest continually operating wholesale optical lab in the country. We hope you enjoy this timeline of high points in our history. Also visit our Optical Obscura Museum page for some pics of antique - some century old - optical devices.
The owner of a small frame manufacturing company in Winsted, CN passed away. Four employees bought the machinery and stock and named the company Winchester Optical Company, from the town of Winchester where the village of Winsted was located.
The company moved to Horseheads, NY and was incorporated on January 1. There were six employees manufacturing frames and rimless mountings. They also purchased finished single vision lenses to be mounted in their frames.
Winchester started manufacturing the Monarch line of automatic rimless edgers.
Tom started at Winchester as a delivery boy, riding an electric motorcycle to make his rounds.
Winchester had opened a second branch in Williamsport, PA in 1924 and, in 1930, the Olean, NY branch brought the total to three.
Tom joined Winchester full time after graduating from college.
Tom Lynch published the “Lens and Frame Information” book which presented the box system of measurement that is now standard in the industry. Over 400,000 copies of the book were sold worldwide.
Larry started working at the Olean branch on July 1, 1953.
The Lynch family purchased Winchester Optical.
Winchester Optical moved to a new 9000 square foot facility in Elmira.
Bill started working with Winchester on January 23, 1965.
Ben Lynch started working with Winchester.
Myrle started working with Winchester on February 6, 1965.
The Winchester Elmira facility was expanded by 22,500 feet.
Our first Winchester Optical World (WOW) was in 1980. Here is an image of our second WOW program from 1981.
Winchester started producing Medical Optics and Serengeti lenses for Corning.
Mike started working for Winchester.
Brian started working for Winchester.
Winchester is the Transitions Lab of the Year.
Winchester became an Essilor Partner Lab.