Levin Contact Lens Tables

Catalogue Number: 1009
Levin Contact Lens Tables
Category: Book
Sub-Category: Book of historical note
Author: LEVIN Robert
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1959
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Los Angeles
Publisher/Manufacturer: Louis Levin and Son Inc
Description Of Item: Light tan boards, quarto, about 100 unnumbered pages of tables
Historical Significance: This item relates to the history of contact lens manufacture. Louis Levin was born in Russia in 1886 and apprenticed to a watchmaker at 8 years old. He emigrated to the United States when 18 where he found employment with jewellers and watchmakers. By 1906 he was employed as a horologist. In 1920 he moved his family to Los Angeles where he opened his own watch repair business. He was joined by his son Samuel and the company grew to become a major manufacturer of lathes and drills for watchmaking and jewellery. In 1958, when grandson Robert Levin joined the firm, a new application for a special instrument lathe had presented itself. The manufacture of plastic corneal contact lenses was just beginning. and needed equipment to produce them. Robert was assigned the task of developing a practical manufacturing process for plastic contact lenses and the specifications for the equipment required. Within a year Louis Levin & Son, Inc. published and distributed an instruction manual describing how to manufacture plastic contact lenses using the lathes and tooling then being produced by the company. In 1959, they also published the mathematical tables required to produce lenses of all sizes and focal lengths used for this purpose. These tables, the most complete available at the time, provided dimensional measurements for over 80,000 different prescriptions, representing over 120,000 solutions to what, at the time, were believed to be every useful contact lens prescription. An IBM 705 computer was used to make these calculations. Robert Levin was responsible for developing the instruction booklet as well as the Contact Lens Tables. See http://www.levinlathe.com/history/index.html
How Acquired: Ex Nathan Library Originally donated by Andrew Geddes, a Melbourne optometry firm
Date Acquired: Nov 2008
Condition: Good, old VCO Library stamps
Location: Archive room. East wall. Books of historical note. Folios

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