American Optical Operating Plant – Buffalo NY

In 1935, The American Optical Company purchased Spencer Lens Company, located on Eggert Rd. in Buffalo, NY. By 1938, the plant began manufacturing ophthalmic instruments. In 1945, the Spencer Lens Company changed its name to American Optical Scientific Instrument Division and in 1950, their plant was expanded to acquire the plant operations of their Southbridge, MA factory. Throughout the mid-20th century, American Optical changed names several times, to Cambridge Instruments, Reichert-Jung, Inc., and Leica Microsystems. Today, Reichert-Ametek operates the former American Optical plant and manufactures electronic eye-care instruments.

American Optical Buffalo NY

At American Optical, maintenance workers and workers who were engaged in production of glass were at a high risk of being exposed to asbestos. Glass-making required an immense amount of heat, and commonly involved the transfer of hot glass between various machines with tongs. In order to combat the dangers of working around high temperatures, special fireproofing equipment, typically made out of asbestos, was typically located throughout the plant, in fireproof equipment and in the employees’ clothing.

Employees who serviced the plant’s boilers, pipes, pumps, valves, turbines, and other high temperature machinery at American Optical’s Buffalo plant may have also been exposed to asbestos when they scraped, wire brushed, removed, and replied asbestos.  The disruption of asbestos may have released asbestos fibers into the air, causing it to be inhaled by anyone in proximity.

In addition to manufacturing glass, American Optical created and sold asbestos gloves that were sold to other glass manufacturers around the country.

American Optical Buffalo NY

Photo Credit: David Steele

Since 1995, the attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC have been helping clients in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and across New York State who have been injured due to asbestos exposure. Through our tireless efforts, we have helped to shape and reform asbestos laws throughout the state of New York. We have a full team of lawyers devoted to representing people exposed to asbestos.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us today and we will schedule an appointment to come to your home and meet with you and your family to explain your legal rights.