Bernie Egan, one of the best salesmen ever to open a sample case of spectacle frames and sunglasses, died on 29 March after several years battling dementia. He was 85.
Bernie began his lengthy career in the optical industry when he was apprenticed as an optical mechanic at Frank G O’Brien in Sydney’s Camperdown.
When O’Brien’s closed its prescription laboratory, he, and others, were taken on by nearby Australian Optical Company, whose laboratories were in every capital city (except Hobart) as well as Newcastle and Townsville.
That was the beginning of a long association with AOC and owner Polarizers Australia, culminating with appointment as a sales representative for AOC, covering the Sydney city and metro area and the southern half of country New South Wales. AOC was sold and became International Optical Company in 1977.
When Austria-based frames and sunglasses manufacturer Optyl opened its Australian subsidiary, Bernie was appointed its first sales representatives, his initial task being to assist optometrists, optical dispensers and optical mechanics understand the Optyl material, particularly how to handle this new material when glazing lenses and adjusting frames for best fit.
Optyl went on to become clear market leader, the material finding favour with wearers and practitioners alike, as it was light to wear, facial fittings remained in place and there were some major fashion brands to boot, such as Christian Dior.
Remaining with Optyl Australia until it closed, he then joined Emaxx which was a joint venture between Optyl’s Mark Holloway and French manufacturer L’Amy, which in turn was bought by De Rigo 18 months ago.
Bernie retired from Eyemaxx when he was 68.