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Advanced Glass Industries a key player in making lenses

Post Time:Dec 16,2014Classify:Company NewsView:343

Advanced Glass Industries is “one of the cogs” in the process of turning glass into lenses that will be used for telescopes, prisms and other objects.


The Emerson Street firm cuts large blocks of glass into smaller ones called blanks. That’s the second stage of the operation, said AGI President Anthony Marino, after the actual making of the glass and before it’s sent for grinding and polishing, and then coating, and finally to assembly.


“We supply optical blanks to many industries,” Marino said. “We’ve worked for universities, research firms, the military and others.”


The glass blocks might come in at, say, a 73-inch diameter and 12 inches thick and be cut down to 2-inch diameter blanks that are half an inch thick, Marino said. The glass materials are manufactured by well-known firms like Corning and Schott AG.


The company started in 1975 as HJF Optical and was renamed Advanced Glass Industries in 1994. The roots go back even farther.


Shortly after World War II, brothers Bernard, Gene and Henry Fischer started a company called Fischer Optical, which focused on remolding optical and industrial glasses. Twenty-five years later, Fischer Optical was purchased by Bunnington Corp., who kept Gene and Henry Fischer as top officials. Bunnington later closed the original Fischer Optical and Henry Fischer and two partners ventured out and started HJF. Employees from Fischer Optical followed them.


HJF continued to grow and Henry Fischer’s son, John, expanded the business. Marino, who had a background in optical testing and fabrication work, acquired a controlling interest in the company in 1994. John Fischer stayed on as vice president. The company name change reflected the wider range of services being offered.


Marino had been an associate of the Fischers for years. Rochester has the largest optical base in the world, Marino said, with companies like JML Optical, RPC Photonics and many others.


“The optical community is like a brotherhood,” he said. “We’re not competitors. We take on a lot of different challenges. When (customers) have difficult projects, they come to us.”


HJF started on Boxart Street, in an industrial park near Turning Point Park. The renamed AGI moved to its Emerson Street location, between Mount Read Boulevard and Colfax Street, about 14 years ago, Marino said. The business has about 35,000 square feet of space and is soon putting on an 8,000-square-foot addition.


AGI has worked with renowned glass artists, supplying not only the raw materials but also offering manufacturing capabilities.


Marino said that he’s especially proud of the company’s involvement in helping start an optics technical grinding and polishing program for students at East High School. AGI helped set up a lab for the program, which started a few years ago, he said.


“They get scientific and physical hands-on experience,” Marino said. “They train them so they can work for all the optical companies in town. The eyeglass division is making glasses for kids in the city who can’t afford them. It’s a wonderful thing that’s happening.”


Alan Morrell is a Rochester-based freelance writer.


Advanced Glass Industries


Founded: 1975


Location: 1335 Emerson St., Rochester


Executives: Anthony Marino, president; H. John Fischer, vice president.


Employees: 43


Website: www.advancedglass.net

Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/buAuthor: shangyi

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