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Visions of past ... and future


AO display shines in hotel's spotlight



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Former AO employee Don Nicholson, now with Aero, looks over some of the old lens measuring devices, some of which he helped design. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
May 30, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — For Larry Enright, last weekend's optical conference at Southbridge Hotel was a stroll down memory lane.

"It's neat," he said. "I love coming back here, love the nostalgia of it all."

Enright, an officer of Perferx Optical Co. in Pittsfield and this year's president of the Optical Labs Association, was particularly speaking about the display of nearly a century of optical machinery and related materials decorating the hotel's lobby. Coordinated by Southbridge historian Dick Whitney and Donna Silverberg, it includes old lens measuring equipment, spectacles of various eras (the oldest being c. 1825), advertising posters and even big chunks of the glass they used for lenses — almost all of them made right here, when American Optical was in business.

Enright has a family connection to AO — his father once ran the company's lab in his hometown before opening his own. Although AO ultimately moved from Pittsfield to New York, Enright followed dad's footsteps.

"You've almost got to be born into this business," he said. "Who in the world would come into it from outside?"

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage.

SPE 2015
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