OSA | Living History

Karl Lambrecht

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Karl Lambrecht left his native Celle, Germany for the United States as a stowaway on a ship during his teenage years. Never receiving education past sixth grade, he was a self-taught entrepreneur.

In the mid-1920s, Lambrecht settled in Chicago and took a job as a machinist at an optics manufacturing company. There, he came up with techniques to manufacture calcite prisms and crystal polarizers. During World War II, Lambrecht directed the manufacturing operations for large prisms and lenses at Bell & Howell Co. In 1946, he founded Crystal Optics in Chicago, now known as the Karl Lambrecht Corp. By the 1950s, Lambrecht had established worldwide mining operations. In 1975, he received OSA’s David Richardson Medal.

Lambrecht passed away in 2001.



Document Created: 17 Sep 2020
Last Updated: 17 Sep 2020