Historical Timeline

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.

1898

The Beginning

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.

1902

Horseheads, NY

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.

1914

Equipment Manufacturing

Winchester started manufacturing the Monarch line of automatic rimless edgers.

1926

Tom Lynch

Tom started at Winchester as a delivery boy, riding an electric motorcycle to make his rounds.

1930

Three Branch Locations

Winchester had opened a second branch in Williamsport, PA in 1924 and, in 1930, the Olean, NY branch brought the total to three.

1936

Tom Lynch

Tom joined Winchester full time after graduating from college.

1953

Lens & Frame Information Book

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.

1953

Larry Stull

Larry started working at the Olean branch on July 1, 1953.

1955

Ownership Change

The Lynch family purchased Winchester Optical.

1961

Elmira Facility

Winchester Optical moved to a new 9000 square foot facility in Elmira.

1963

Bill Brown

Bill started working with Winchester on January 23, 1965.

1963

Ben Lynch

Ben Lynch started working with Winchester.

1965

Myrle Richards

Myrle started working with Winchester on February 6, 1965.

1972

Elmira Expansion

The Winchester Elmira facility was expanded by 22,500 feet.

1980

WOW

Our first Winchester Optical World (WOW) was in 1980. Here is an image of our second WOW program from 1981.

1980s

Corning Production

Winchester started producing Medical Optics and Serengeti lenses for Corning.

1987

Mike Lynch

Mike started working for Winchester.

1989

Brian Lynch

Brian started working for Winchester.

2009

Award

Winchester is the Transitions Lab of the Year.

2010

Partner Lab

Winchester became an Essilor Partner Lab.