The Priceless Pair

Mother Nature chose to remind us that winter is far from over, and sent the entire East Coast a care package by the name of Blizzard Jonas, and paralyzed us for the first time this year. The snow was so extreme that it was un-plowable. My shovel and snowblower, and needless to say my back, were nowhere near up to the task of clearing so much snow. I had to bring in the Bobcat to remove the two feet of snow from my property outside of my optical shop.

Once completed, I found myself thinking of ways to pass the time while my valued customers stayed warm and safe within the confines of their homes. Of course, there is always work to be done, but upon cutting the last pair of lenses to finish the orders of the previous days, I decided to tackle a past due chore that only I could truly appreciate.

In the back of my shop, an extension of a three generation family business that began long ago in Germany, sit boxes of untold treasures and antiquities related to the optical industry. These boxes of unique and rare treasures tell a part of my family heritage. To some, much of what these boxes hold would be considered to be nothing more than junk to be disposed of, I however, find them priceless and irreplaceable.

My maternal grandfather, Hans Wilhelm Koler, Optikmeister, began his modest business on the Island of Sylt in Northern Germany after receiving his Meisterbrief in 1948. Many of the eyeglasses that he painstakingly crafted by hand are a unique expression of his hard work, ingenuity and creativity. In comparison to the technology of today, imagine the difficulty in achieving such precision design and craftsmanship. Such ingenuity cannot be underestimated.

During summer visits to Germany while growing up, I would hear stories of how my grandfather was a well respected Optician and businessman with a keen eye for fashionable, yet functional eyewear. I am sharing a couple of photographs of what I have located so far. Notice the interesting shapes and meticulous craftsmanship of each unique pair. 

Despite the snowstorm and the ensuing cleanup, my day became a fun and interesting treasure hunt that uncovered priceless finds, handmade by a branch of my own family tree. I felt pride and admiration for the craftsmanship of my grandfathers work. As a result of such, I continue to strive to provide my present day customers with fashion forward quality eyewear, combined with the same level of exceptional and personalized customer service that has always been the cornerstone of my family business.  The history and nostalgia connected with these eyeglasses are things that I appreciate and respectfully admire as a professional, licensed Optician.  However, it is the pride in knowing that such craftsmanship was created by the hands of my grandfather that make me see them as truly priceless.

Photo of rimless frame is a high myopic with carrier in glass -17.75 Sph O.U. weighing in at 26.5 grams.