Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,478 pages of information and 233,901 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Combined Optical Industries

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of Plasta House, 3 Hammersmith Road, London, W14. Telephone: Fulham 5551. Cables: "Plasta, London". Works: Bath Road, Slough

1936 Combined Optical Industries Ltd (COIL) was founded by Arthur Kingston,the inventor of the plastic lens, and was regarded as the leader in plastic optics.

The company pioneered techniques in the precision moulding of plastic optics using injection and compression moulding.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Igard Lenses, Plasta Magnifiers and Readers, Combs, Soap Boxes, Trays, Paper Knives, Ash Trays, Salad Servers, Serviette Rings, Fish Eaters, General Industrial and Household Mouldings. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. E.1795) [1]

1963 Miroslav Sigmund was taken on as a consultant by the company which was in difficulties

1965 Sigmund bought the company and became managing director. He developed plastic aspheric lenses for cameras and optical instruments, and produced components for the new Polaroid instant camera.

As more and more low-vision products were introduced, the brand name COIL started to become recognised throughout the world as an innovative and successful company

1974 Sigmund retired

Later taken over by the Revlon Corporation.

In early 2000 COIL moved to a purpose built facility only a short distance from their original factory.

  • Note:
    • The company has its own website: [1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Miroslav Sigmund, ODNB