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G Nissel & Co - Contact Lenses
Location of the first independent contact lens laboratory
Location: Mornington Terrace, Camden
Description: George Nissel was born in Transylvania and studied engineering in Czechoslovakia. He first became aware of contact lenses because of his sister's connection with Dallos and first saw Istvan Rakos, a dental technician, making glass scleral lenses for Dallos in 1934.
He started G. Nissel and Co. in July 1946, originally making glass sclerals for Dallos and other adventurous practitioners. He began manufacturing sclerals from PMMA as soon as the material became available later that year, producing lenses mainly for the UK but with some for export to Sweden.
Using his engineering background, Nissel produced in 1947 the first commercial lathes and polishing machines specifically designed for contact lens manufacture. In 1958 he moved the laboratory making corneal lenses to Hemel Hempstead, closing the London office in 1972.
Nissel was one of the first laboratories to recognise and produce aspheric corneal lenses. He issued a monthly Newsletter for many years, reporting on his visits to innumerable overseas contact lens meetings. At its peak, G. Nissel and Co. employed over 90 people supplying lenses and contact lens machinery all over the world.