Optical glass manufacturers

Brief History

In 1666 Sir Isaac Newton discovered that different colours of light had different indexes of refraction through glass. This meant he always assumed using glass lenses there would always be chromatic aberration as at the time the only glass available was soda lime. For this reason he designed the reflective telescope using mirrors to get around this idea.

At this time however people were starting to add lead to the soda lime glass process which enabled a change in refractive indexes and dispersion. This process led to the formation of the first flint glasses. Using the lead flint glass with the soda lime (crown) lenses chromatic aberration can be completely corrected. This discovery meant the first achromatic lens was manufactured by Chester Moore Hall in 1733. The first patent obtained for an achromatic lens was made by J Dolland in 1758.

In the 19th Century the focus of optical glass research then moved to Germany through the work of Joseph von Fraunhofer. Fraunhofer’s work helped to measure precisely the optical characteristics of glass through the Fraunhofer lines. These lines are nD (587.6nm) nF (486.1 nm) and nC 656.3 nm which ares till used today to characterise glass.

The next major step forward happened when Ernst Abbe who was working for Zeiss tasked Otto Schott with investigating the effects of different elements had on glass characteristics. This led to the discovery of several different glass categories that are still used today including borosilicate crown glasses, the barium crown glasses and the barium flint glasses. This discovery was really the starting point to todays modern optical glass production with companies in the UK, USA and Japan following suit.

Modern Optical Glass Manufacturers

Kingsview holds a large range of optical glass stock which can help quick with quick delivery times when necessary for optical manufacture. The 3 main optical glass manufacturers that we hold are Schott, Ohara and CDGM. Should the stock not be available it should be possible to order some in.


Schott is a German glass manufacturer founded by Otto Schott who was a big part of the creation of optical glass as we see today. Examples of Schott glass include N-BK7, N-LAK12 and N-SF11.


Ohara is a Japanese glass manufacturer but they have a large European base so it is easy to get delivery of the glass should it not be in stock. Examples of Ohara glass include S-FSL5, S-BAL14 and S-TIH57.


CDGM is a Chinese manufacturer and the newest of the 3 main companies. Examples of CDGM glass include H-LAK51A, H-ZPK1A and H-ZF7LA.