The Kirk Family Celebrate 100 Years in Optics
In 1919 Sidney and Percy Kirk converted a dilapidated sewing machine into a lens cutter. Thus, began a century of the Kirk family influencing optics around the globe and in 2019 Jason and Karen Kirk carry the mantle of one hundred years of Kirks in optics.
“This is an amazing moment, having seen everything that my Grandfather achieved and grown up in my parent’s practice, Karen and I are very proud to learn from the past to drive the future,” said Jason Kirk. “This is about looking forward as, like the previous generations, we try to contribute to the next century of optics.”
“It is easy to over-look how innovative Kirk Brothers were as a company,” said Karen Kirk. “Things that seem normal to us today were visionary in the 1920s. Kirk Brothers were the first to deliver glasses to opticians by motorbike courier to offer a better, faster service, for example.
“Some of the values that they held would be very welcome today,” Jason adds. “They helped other optical people set up what we would now consider to be competitive factories in London because they wanted the UK to be seen as a centre for optical excellence……and it was. They espoused a generosity that is sadly lacking in most businesses today. A good example was the illustrations and advertising material that they created for opticians to use to promote their goods. Percy Kirk led the dedicated marketing department, in itself another first in optics.”
Jason and Karen will be taking part in their 25th Silmo this year and continue to innovate through their exciting approach to materials, shape and colour.