The Essilor group considers its heritage a precious resource. The Group is committed to preserving and sharing the testimonies to its unique history and that of ophthalmic optics.

An original ambition
to safeguard and promote

The Group maintains a collection of several thousands of objects, archives, photographs and films linked to its history since 1849. A special bilingual database was created to manage and share these resources. Thanks to this inventory and documentation, Essilor can support external initiatives to share this heritage with the general public, in partnership with institutions abroad (such as the Museum of Vision in Shanghai, China) and in France where the Group in 2008 signed a partnership with the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts. Essilor actively collaborates in France with the National Mission for the Preservation of Contemporary Scientific and Technical Heritage.

A dive into the history
of optics

Acquired by the Essilor group in early 2000, the Pierre Marly collection is displayed at the Museum of Eyewear in Morez, Jura. Located in the heart of a French region famed for its eyeglass expertise, the Museum of Eyewear is a vibrant place to preserve and enhance the area’s industrial heritage, retrace the history of eyeglasses and promote understanding of the phenomenon of vision.

The Essilor-Pierre Marly collection, amassed by Pierre Marly (1915-2015) who was a renowned optician and collector, is one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. It brings together over 2,500 rare and historic objects from spectacles, binoculars to optical instruments and scientific optic elements. Among these, medieval spectacles, the glasses of Victoire de France, daughter of Louis XV, opera glasses (including those belonging to Sarah Bernhardt), glasses from Asia or Inuit communities as well as glasses designed by André Courrèges or Pierre Marly himself.

  • Spectacles and their sharkskin case, 19th century


  • “Dalaï-Lama” glasses in engraved silver and silk, 19th century


  • Lynx glasses equipped with small fold-up blue lenses to reduce ‘night-glare’, 1925


  • Modern eskimo glasses created for fashion design house Courrèges by Pierre Marly, 1965


Did you know?

Essilor and the museum of Morez in the Jura have developed a collaborative project around the Essilor-Pierre Marly collection to widen knowledge about ophthalmic optics.



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