David Cantor started out as a 17-year-old with the simple ambition of making some spare cash when his journey into optics began in earnest.
He spotted an advert in the London Evening Standard paying £8 a week to work as an optical technician. ‘I just dropped into it,’ he tells Optician.
What followed was an obsession with optics and contact lenses culminating in the formation of a global supplier of specialist products, primarily for hospital patients with complex visual needs.
Cantor’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged in 1964 when he started up a Perspex contact lens plant in Marylebone, London.
Within a decade he had merged with Leslie Silver to create the Cantor & Silver business in the market town of Brackley, in rural Northamptonshire. By the late 1970s, their ‘little lab’ turned its attention to developing a range of specialist soft contact lenses. The timing was right and resulted in market growth and the acquisition of other UK firms including Focus Contact Lenses, CLM and Cambridge Precision.