Charles Frank Ltd

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Charles Frank Ltd
Optical & Scientific Instrument Maker
IndustryScientific Instruments
FoundedGlasgow, Scotland (ca. 1915)
Headquarters67 Saltmarket Glasgow, Scotland
Key people
Charles Frank, (Founder)
Arthur Frank (Son)
ProductsPrecision binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, cameras and other optical equipment.

Charles Frank Ltd (ca. 1915 – 1974) was an optical and scientific instrument maker in Glasgow, Scotland.


Charles Frank Ltd was formed in circa 1907 when Lithuanian immigrant Charles Frank opened a shop at 67, Saltmarket,[1] where he designed, sold, and repaired photographic and scientific apparatus. Over the following half century it was to become one of the best-known photographic centers in the city and a byword for excellence in cameras and watches.[2] At some later stage the business expanded into a second premises located in the Glasgow town centre at Ingram Street. This became a more upmarket showroom for the sale of his scientific instruments. During the Second World War, the firm focused on the manufacture of navigational instruments and binoculars for the British war effort.

The post war boom in consumer spending coincided in a growth in interest particularly in Astronomy. The business boomed through the 1950s and early 1960s. At the end of the war the market was flooded with high quality ex-military optical and photographic equipment. Charles Frank Ltd took advantage of this ready supply by buying these goods at public auctions held when no longer needed by the military and reselling them to the public. Throughout Charles Frank Ltd maintained their strong reputation for quality.

In the ten years from the middle of the 1960s the company was undercut by new entrants into the marketplace. Despite this the company was determined to continue to uphold its reputation as a quality manufacturer. Unfortunately Charles Frank Ltd lost market share and in the poor economic climate of the 1970s Britain finally ceased trading in 1974.


Instruments manufactured by Charles Frank Ltd are still in daily use today and regularly appear on the second hand market. Two books on astronomy published by the company have been the launchpad for many amateur and professional science careers.

While the original Charles Frank Ltd has ceased trading the rights to the name were acquired by former staff after the business was sold off. Charles Frank Ltd now trades from 101 Rose Street Edinburgh and specialises in retail and wholesale binoculars and telescopes. They no longer manufacture their own instruments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Photograph can be seen at The Life of Hannah Frank Archived 2012-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Casely, Gordon (25 December 2008). "Hannah Frank obituary". Herald Scotland. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 28 December 2015.