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 William Beecher

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William Beecher

  • Birth 24 Jan 1805 Southbury, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
  • Death 10 Jan 1893 Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Southbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 45340341

Retired manufacturer. William was the town clerk of Southbridge in 1831 and 1832. He was the representative to the Massachusetts General Court in 1861.

From http://aoeyewear.com/history/ :

The Beginnings 1826-1872

The development of the optical and eyewear manufacturing industry in America started in the early part of the nineteenth century. Prior to this time, optical frames and lenses were imported from Europe, mainly from France, Germany and England. Metal frames were also produced by local jewelry manufacturers as well as other specialty metal workers. The quantities, however, were limited to private demand for singularly custom made frames.

The AO [American Optical Manufacturing Company of Southbridge, Massachusetts] heritage began in 1826, when William Beecher, a Connecticut farm boy, came to Southbridge, after an apprenticeship in Providence, Rhode Island, where he learned the jeweler's trade. This trade he practiced in Southbridge for seven years before his fateful encounter with a pair of typically crude imported spectacles.

"I can do it better," said William Beecher to himself and he went to work.

The American optical industry was born at that moment. William Beecher fostered an enduring precept for the company that was to grow into the American Optical Company.


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  • Created by: Ryan-O
  • Added: 11 Dec 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 45340341
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Beecher (24 Jan 1805–10 Jan 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 45340341, citing Oak Ridge Cemetery, Southbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Ryan-O (contributor 46886020) .