Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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British Optical Lens Co

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British Optical Lens Company (BOLCO), lens maker of Birmingham

1909 Edwin Elliott was an agent for a manufacturer of spectacle lenses, as well as establishing his own business E. Elliott.

1911 He bought them out and developed the business into The British Optical Lens Co.

1930s to 50s Made lenses for Elliott's cameras, also owned by Edwin Elliott, and for Coronet Camera Co.

1952 BOLCO developed lenses for Periflex cameras made by K. G. Corfield.

1982 Receivers were appointed

1983 Acquired by Reed International Group. The company name was changed to The British Optical Lens Company (1983) Ltd.

1986 Electro Optics Asia Ltd (EOAL) was formed in Hong Kong through a buyout of the manufacturing division of Hanimex.

1986 Name changed to Caradon British Optical Ltd, when the Building Products Division of Reed International (of which they were a part) was subject to a management buyout, becoming Caradon plc who made, amongst other things, plastic casings for the electronics industry.

Part of Caradon Plastics

1987 Factories at Walsall and Perth; volume production of medium quality lenses used in overhead projectors, sight glasses for boilers, and stage lighting[1]

1988 EOAL First factory opened in China.

1988 Company No 01305914 (British Optical Lens Co Limited) was dissolved

1990 Optar UK Ltd was opened in UK, by senior ex-Caradon Elliott staff, to act as European sales outlet for EOAL.

1991 Optar UK Ltd acquired British Optical Ltd.

1991 Bronzechain Ltd incorporated to buy the business and assets of Caradon British Optical Ltd.

1992 Caradon British Optical Ltd renamed Caradon Lenses Limited

1992 Bronzechain Limited changed its name to British Optical Limited making, amongst other things, high-tech inset lighting for airports.

1995 International Optical Group Ltd formed as holding company for International Optics Ltd (HK), formerly EOAL, and International Optics Ltd (UK), formerly Optar UK Ltd.

1996 British Optical Ltd acquired business and assets of Glass Division of English Glass. Commenced manufacture of Boro-lux® heat-resistant borosilicate glass.

1998 Second EOAL factory opened in China for special coatings and assembly of multi-element lenses.

1999 Third EOAL factory opened in China for rod moulding, and to allow growth for precision optics manufacture.

2000 Majority of optical production moved from British Optical Ltd to China, to allow growth in glass melting and forming. Fifth glass melting furnace added.

2001 Fourth EOAL factory built to allow significant growth in precision optics and coating.

British Optical Ltd is part of the International Optical Group Ltd, with factories in UK, Hong Kong and China, making high quality optical components, including multi-element lens assemblies for LDC projectors, optically polished prisms, moulded parabolic and aspheric reflectors and Boro-lux® heat-resistant glass.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times June 22, 1987