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Foster Grant Collection

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: DGI/MM
Date: 2006

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.

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.

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.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

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.

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.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

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


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

Genres and Forms

Promotional materials.
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.

Table of Contents

Corporate materials



Product literature