About Signet Armorlite Europe
Signet Armorlite Inc. the World's leading ophthalmic lens manufacturer was established in 1983 by the union of two optical companies, Signet and Armorlite. Armorlite was founded in California in 1946 by Dr Robert Graham. He saw the spectacle lens potential of PPG's CR39 allyl resin as used by the US Air Force in World War II. The impact-resistance and lightness in weight combined with good optical performance, made CR39 a true challenger to Crown glass for spectacle lenses. From 1947 onwards Armorlite Inc. pioneered plastic lens casting in North America. In 1978, technological innovators 3M purchased Armorlite Inc. With 3M's backing, Armorlite Inc. brought the RLX Plus scratch resistant plastic lens coating to the market. Applied in mould, RLX Plus is still the World's most scratch resistant plastic lens surface.
Signet was founded in San Diego, California in 1969 by 2 entrepreneurs - Doug Campbell and Dan Chamberlain. 'Signet Uptown' as it was originally known was a wholesale laboratory that cast its own lens blanks. This business quickly became a highly esteemed producer of advanced lens forms including: bifocals, trifocals and the then revolutionary hyperaspherics for cataract patients.
Signet was purchased by American Hospital Supplied Corporation in 1977, with Dick Ormsby as General Manager. Dick joined with Bob Jepson to buy Signet from this company in 1981. In 1983 Dick and Bob purchased Armorlite from 3M - Signet Armorlite Inc. was born! The company is now one of the World’s biggest semi-finished plastic lens producers.
In 1988 a European Headquarters was established in Gloucester in the UK and Signet Armorlite Europe began supplying semi-finished lenses throughout the continent (a second European base has also since been set up in Holland).
Over 100 people are currently employed in the UK operation and 30,000 different lens lines are stocked in its fully computerised, paperless distribution facility. The company was the second in Gloucestershire to obtain the Investors in People Award which it has had it continuously re-recognised ever since. The company is very proud of its policy of providing service and quality through it’s people and technology.
In 1994 Signet Armorlite Inc. was granted exclusive world rights from Eastman Kodak Company to produce and market a technologically advanced spectacle lens range under the famous Kodak Lens brand name.
A new high tech Kodak Lens Prescription Coating and Processing Laboratory opened in Gloucester in 1996, combining the best modern lens material options and designs from the Signet Armorlite experts, with the very latest spectacle lens manufacturing equipment from around the world.
Signet Armorlite is now recognised as a leading innovator in ophthalmic lens products, from design through to manufacture. Through investing in the latest manufacturing technology and modern lens design practices Signet Armorlite are currently at the forefront of the digital freeform lens revolution.