Contact lenses

Catalogue Number: 95
Contact lenses
Category: Book
Sub-Category: Significant book (Aitken collection)
Author: OBRIG, Theo E.
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1942
Edition: 1st edition
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Philadelphia
Publisher/Manufacturer: The Chilton Company
Description Of Item: This book is hard cover, original wine cloth, 210 x 135 mm, with 470 pages including an index and an excellent bibliography. It is a text book covering relevant anatomy and physiology, related diseases, optics of contact lenses and the techniques of fitting. Ch 5 is an excellent historical overview starting from Herschell's ideas of 1827 and FE Muller, A Muller and Flick's more practical work in the second half of the 19thC. Chapter 10 reproduces the US patents for contact lenses from 1900. Two copies/ Copy 2 has the signature of William E Owens FVOA and the date 8/6/44 on front fly leaf and the library stamp of Andrew Geddes (a firm of Melbourne optometrists)
Historical Significance: Theodore Obrig (1896-1967) is an early pioneer in contact lenses. He entered the optical industry with Gall & Lemke Optical Company in 1914 as a graduate of Columbia University. His father was a shareholder but he soon re-entered college as a medical student but never completed. He volunteered for the French Army Ambulance corps in World War 1 later transferring to the US army as a bacteriologist and physiological chemist. He returned to Gall & Lemke inventing the Myodisc bifocal, which was later made under licence in UK by Hamblin's and Stigmat as the Myoplet. Obrig's interest in contact lenses began in 1930 when he became an agent for Zeiss instigating their change to impression lens fitting in 1935. He published Modern Ophthalmic lenses and Optical Glass the same year. In Australia the provision of contact lenses in clinical practice did not really start until the 1950s and even then there were few optometrists who undertook contact lens practice among them Victorian optometrists John Strachan, William Swinnerton, Penrhyn Thomas ,and Ernest Goetz fitted Ziess contact lenses in the 1930s. Obrig was not an optometrist but a technical innovator who made contact lenses and taught ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians how to fit them. He was doing this in the late 1930s. The first Obrig all-plastic contact lens was produced in 1938. This is an early text book on contact lenses. See also Dickinson 1946 (#176), Bier 1953 (#494), Mandell 1965 (# 507, and Thomas 1960? (#558), Anderson 1944 (#575). Copy 2 is in the Archive room. East wall. Books of historical note. Obrig was President of Obrig Laboratories, retiring in 1952.
How Acquired: Donated by Copy 2 William E Owens FVOA
Condition: Copy 1 is very good; Copy 2 is fair
Location: Nathan Library. Aitken collection

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