Back to the Collection

Let's See

About the film

A look at the manufacture of optical lenses, and their many uses throughout the different industries; from microscopes to spectacles to full use in the war effort.


Release year
Robert Lapresle
Production company
Merton Park Studios
Robert Lapresle
Cyril Knowles
Norman Fulton
Ronnie Waldman
Cath Miller
Sound recording
Edgar Law
Running time (minutes)
16 mins 04 secs
Music Conducted by
Muir Mathieson

Original Description

Manufacture of Optical Glass
‘Optical glass is ground and polished to an incredible accuracy. This film shows how the sand is purified and bilted and how the pieces of glass are smoothed and polished in lenses for optical metrometers, survey instruments, microscopes, telescopes and camera lenses.’
(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1946)


  • The highland sand mine featured is the Lochaline silica sand mine, which opened in 1940. Although closed down in 2008 the mine was re-opened in April 2012 and to this day provides high quality sand for glass making in the UK.
  • Alongside Queen Cotton and Power Lines, this is the third film in the British Council Film Collection that describes the workings of the technical machinery in industrial production as having a “symphony of sound and colour.”
  • Footage from an aerial camera, such as the one seen at 03:20, can be seen in British News No.2.