Hydron Contact Lens Magnifier

Catalogue Number: 3972
Hydron Contact Lens Magnifier
Category: Equipment
Sub-Category: Contact lens equipment
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1980s
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Description Of Item: Black plastic case 75 mm x 76 mm with silver label imprinted in black 'Hirst Contact Lens (Aust) P/L/CON-O-COID/HYDROLENS/LABORATORIES' containing a square black plastic illuminated magnifier. One face of the magnifier has a label affixed with 'HYDRON?/SOFT LENS' printed in gold and a securing screw above a 15D plastic lens of diameter 24 mm. The opposite face has a raised section containing a prefocussed light globe angled to illuminate the area focused by the lens. A small round button on the top of the unit operates a switch for the globe. Two AAA batteries located vertically in the unit provide the power for the globe. Temporary storage Box A
Historical Significance: Eugene (Gene) Hirst OBE (1911-1989) emigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1939 to Auckland, New Zealand, as it was the farthest he could get from Czechoslovakia. He was originally a dental technician and made his first contact lenses for a keratoconic patient by taking an impression of the eye using dental material and moulding a lens over a stone cast. There were no lathes available at the time so the optics were fashioned by hand using small brass laps. In partnership with optometrist Douglas Mortimer he started the Hirst Contact lenses Ltd Company in 1943 and also an optometric practice called Mortimer and Hirst. In 1967 Hirst began making soft lenses, adding aspherics and front surface torics with prism ballast and truncation. In 1970 the company expanded with a branch in Adelaide, Australia, which also specialised in aspheric lenses. The Australian company was sold a few years later to Hydron USA with a licence to manufacture Con-o-Coid lenses and in 1976 Hirst Contact Lenses Ltd was sold to New Zealand Optical Ltd and renamed Hirstlens NZ Ltd.
How Acquired: Donated by Colin Bates
Date Acquired: 23/07/2020
Condition: Good
Location: Archive Room. East wall Unit 5 Cupboard

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