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Foster Grant Collection

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Foster Grant (Firm)
Title: Foster Grant Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1900s-1989
Quantity: 3.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Foster Grant was an American plastics molding and manufacturing firm specializing in eyewear. Originally founded in 1919 by Sam Foster to produce ladies hair accessories, the first piece of eyewear sold in 1929 at the Woolworth in Atlantic City. Collection contains company publications and sales materials including a training binder from the 1970s containing photographs and handwritten directions on how to create an epoxy mold; and photographs of die molds, Foster Grant products from World War II and sales displays.
Language: English, French
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Foster Grant was an American plastics molding and manufacturing firm specializing in eyewear. Originally founded in 1919 by Sam Foster to produce ladies hair accessories, the first piece of eyewear sold in 1929 at the Woolworth in Atlantic City. In 1934, Foster Grant became the first American company to adopt injection molding. Their famous ad campaign from the 1960s, "Who's Behind Those Foster Grants," made them a household word. The original Foster Grant molding operation focused on manufacturing a variety of sunwear frames with glass. In the early 1970's Foster Grant introduced molded acrylic lenses and later developed silicone hardcoats to protect the lenses from scratching. By 1982, Foster Grant no longer manufactured glass lenses for eyewear. By the late 1980's Foster Grant began to focus on the safety and military markets. In August 1990, the Foster Grant Corporation declared bankruptcy. Almost one year later, the Technical Products Division of Foster Grant was sold to Fosta-Tek Optics, Inc., a newly-created company headed by John Morrison Jr., President and majority stockholder. Accessories Associates, Inc. purchased Foster Grant in 1996.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Foster Grant Collection contains company publications and sales materials (including a training binder from the 1970s with photographs and handwritten directions on how to create an epoxy mold), photographs of die molds, Foster Grant products from World War II and sales displays.

Corporate materials consists of Foster Grant's annual reports, the company newsletter, and items related to the company's history.

Correspondence is comprised of miscellaneous Foster Grant order forms and manufacturer letters, including those from the Mazzucchelli company as well as letters related to the Foster Grant Heart-Lung Pump between Dr. Sigmund Wesolowski, Dr. Herman Sugarman, and Robert Ward.

The Photographs consist of both personal and product related items as well as Foster Grant manufacturing machinary. Also included are 200+ photographs of die molds.

Product literature consists of manufacturer information related to Foster Grant products, including handwritten directions on how to create an epoxy mold. In addition, there are sunglass advertisements and catalogues, including their famous "Who's Behind Those Foster Grants?" campaign; advertisements and illustrations related to the Foster Grant Heart-Lung Pump, and various other product literature.

The Miscellaneous documents consist of notes belonging to Emilio Iacoboni regarding Foster Grant and various items pertaining to the Foster Grant company.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Corporate materials are arranged alphabetically and chronologically within, correspondence is arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within, photographs are arranged by subject, and product literature is arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on this material.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous holdings in the areas of plastics and industrial design. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Fost-Tek Optics, Inc.
Foster Grant (Firm) -- Archives.

Subjects

Eyeglasses.
Plastics -- Molds.
Plastics industry and trade.
Sunglasses industry.
Sunglasses.

Genres and Forms

Photographs.
Promotional materials.
Sunglasses.
Training manuals.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Foster Grant Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transfer from National Plastics Center and Museum, 11/06/2008. Originally, gift of Fosta-tek Optics, Inc.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: DGI/MM
Date: 2006
Revision history: Feb 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC); 4 Feb 2011 - reprocessed the collection, added material, and updated the finding aid. (CEG); 11 Feb 2011 - oversize material added. (CEG); 27 April 2011 - added material and updated the finding aid. (CEG)

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Inventory

Corporate materials
Box 1 Annual reports 1959-1973 (2 folders)
Oversize 1 Binder - printed with a Foster Grant Logo on its cover
Box 1 Buildings plans/drawings 1933-1979 (20 drawings)
Box 1 Clippings 1965-1993, undated
Box 1 Company history 1974, undated - company stationery, annual meeting of stockholders booklet, company timeline and history clipping, and 3 commemorative 50 year anniversary booklets (circa 1969)
Box 2 Company newsletter, Forum and Gazette 1965-1981 (5 folders)
Correspondence
Box 3 Heart-lung pump 1950-1957 - correspondence between Dr. Sigmund Wesolowski, Dr. Herman Sugarman, and Robert Ward (2 folders)
Box 3 Miscellaneous 1970-1989 - Company order forms and manufacturer letters, including those from the Mazzucchelli company
Photographs
Box 3 Buildings 1987 - photographs and negatives of Foster Grant company
Box 7 Die molds - series number unknown (10 photographs)
Box 7 Die molds - incomplete series 7-287, some include an article number (example: Die Mold #245, Article #345) (99 photographs)
Box 8 Die molds - incomplete series 291-549, some include an article number (example: Die Mold #291, Article #335) (103 photographs)
Box 9 Die molds - incomplete series 554-1092, some include an article number (example: Die Mold #613, Article #834) (102 photographs)
Box 3 Molds (16 photographs)
Box 3 Other eye glasses - ski goggles and eye shields
Box 3 Other products - gas mask lenses/valves, combs, Gillette safety razor box, match box, card holder
Box 3 Sunglasses 1958-1988 - photographs and negatives of displays and models (2 folders)
Box 3 Miscellaneous - photographs and negatives of beach scene and typed letters
Product literature
Box 3 Combs - catalogs
Box 3 Cups circa 1961 - catalogs
Heart-lung pump
Box 4 Advertisements circa 1953 - "Uses Unlimited" bulletin and "The Graham Dial" monthly bulletin
Box 4 Clippings 1950-1954 - features an artist rendering and with accompanying article on "A Second Heart"
Box 4 Prints and photocopies
Box 4 Technical info drawings/notes 1950-1957, undated (2 folders)
Map-Case 97 Technical info drawings/notes (oversize) 1952 - blueprints (4 drawings)
Box 4 Miscellaneous - booklet for State Mutual Life insurance, "A Pump For Artificial Maintenance of the Circulation" booklet, two photographs of mechanical object
Box 4 Manufacturer - technical information on resins, molds, machinary, and handwritten instructions on the making of a prototype expoxy mold
Sunglasses
Box 4 Ad copy 1951-1966 - advertising schedule, media schedule, ad plan letters, articles and accompanying photographs
Box 4 Advertisements circa 1955-1965 - magazine ads, photocopied newspaper ads, window display ads
Oversize 1 Advertisements 1960s - magazine ads
Box 5 Catalogs 1958-1972 - features famous "Who's Behind Those Foster Grants?" ad campaign (5 folders)
Box 6 Catalogs 1973-1984 - features sport and outdoor activity sunglasses (4 folders)
Box 6 Clippings 10/3/1966 - article from Management & Selling regarding new suntower display units
Box 6 Dealer Literature - selling guides, order forms and price listings, registration cards, selling incentives, etc.
Box 6 Packaging - adult and child sunglass cards
Other products
Box 6 Advertisements 1960-1963 - Joe Foster pictured in several ads regarding plastic resins, molds, and materials that appeared in various plastics magazines
Miscellaneous
Box 6 Photographs/notes 1934, 1974, undated - handwritten notes about Sam Foster by Emilio Iacoboni and photographs of Emilio Iacobini and Sam Foster as well as unidentified factories (2 folders)

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