Magay & Barron in a Nutshell
100 years ago in 1912 in downtown Worcester, two young men, Skip (James O.) Magay and his best friend Ralph Barron opened their practice. There must have been something in the air that year, The Girl Scouts, Oreo Cookies, LL Bean, and Fenway Park all began in 1912.
Not many people had cars in those long ago days. Taking the trolley and walking downtown was a good way to meet your fellow citizens, and Skip had the gift of gab. He had many friends; they were shopkeepers, shoeshine boys, politicians, bar tenders, lawyers, doctors and factory workers. He chatted with them daily as he walked down Main Street to Easton’s where he would pick up his fresh cigars and newspaper for the day. (Sort of like Facebooking only in real time!)
Skip and Ralph loved hunting and fishing, they regularly traveled to distant deep woods camps. Skip liked sports and attended boxing and wrestling events at Mechanic’s Hall – he also was a friend of our famous bicycle racer Major Taylor. Skip and Ralph were family men and a solid part of the community. Skip, in various groups like the Alethia Grotto, the Elks, – and especially Worcester Rotary while Ralph was a strong Kiwanian.
When they set up their office 100 years ago they made major purchases from the American Optical Company in Southbridge. Skip was trained by Albert Wells to refract eyes – give eye exams, and make eyeglasses from them. Jim Magay is still using the workbench from AO everyday and members of the Well’s family are still having Magay & Barron fabricate their glasses today!
Today one modern machine can grind lenses in minutes taking the place of three or four workers. The technology in lenses today is amazing, the coatings, the incredible computer based lens designs, lenses prepared in clean rooms where million dollar machines are kept in a surgically clean environment. The technicians operating these marvels are dressed and booted as carefully as if they were performing surgery. Frames have become just as high tech as the lenses with materials like surgical grade stainless steel and titanium, exotic plastics, epoxy, etc. and are fertile ground for expressions of art by some of the foremost designers and artist of the world today. Jim and Eddi Magay are proud to know many of them personally and carry their products in our store today.
The loyalty and confidence of Magay & Barron patients has made Magay & Barron’s longevity possible. Today using their computer records they can proudly say they’ve put glasses and contact lenses on more than 20,000 faces in the past 15 years. Magay & Barron Eye Center is committed to helping build better lives and a better future by enabling and protecting eyesight.
Looking back I’d say their longevity is based on small gestures in the scope of world affairs, but big on personal relationships helping each individual patient get through the day and their life with comfort based on being able to see well to perform their life’s work and to live well!