John Jacob Bausch
John Jacob Bausch ©Bausch and Lomb

    John Jacob Bausch, Bausch + Lomb

    Born: 1830 | Died: 1926

    John Jacob Bausch, also known as J.J., was born in 1930 in Süßen, Baden Württemberg and immigrated to the United States in 1849.

    He started working as a wood turner, but had to find another job after he lost two of his fingers in an accident with a buzz saw.

    Bausch started his own retail optical shop, drawing on his experience in Switzerland, where he worked in a small optical shop. Using supplies imported from Germany, he opened a small business in Rochester. The business struggled and Bausch needed to borrow money from his friend Henry Lomb, also a German immigrant, in order to buy new supplies and expand his business. In turn, Bausch promised Lomb that he would be named a partner as soon as the business was running profitably.

    After several years of support by Lomb, the business finally became profitable, partly due to the introduction of the company's rubber-framed spectacles that sold with such success they were able to open a store in New York City.

    By then the business was called Bausch & Lomb, and by the end of the 19th century the small shop in Rochester had grown to a shop with one hundred thousand square feet of floor space. Offices opened in New York City and Chicago, offering all kinds of eyeglass lenses and frames. The list of products manufactured by Bausch & Lomb even grew to include binoculars, microscopes, projectors, camera lenses and shutters.

    One of their most successful products are Ray-Ban sunglasses.