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57
OTTO WICHTERLE
THE FIRST CONTACT LENS
MACHINE, 1963

Otto Wichterle held almost two hundred patents in organic chemistry, plastics, man-made fibres and biomedical materials. In 1952 he began working on a synthesis of hydrophilic gels to find a suitable material for eye implants. Over Christmas 1961 he used a Merkur children’s metal construction set to build a prototype centrifugal casting apparatus, and then made his first four contact lenses, very regular and easy on the eye.