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History of Artificial Eyes: Langdon M. Henderlite

Langdon M. Henderlite

Langdon Henderlite, August 2002
Langdon Henderlite, who was a Richmond native, was born to Langdon M. Henderlite, Ph.D.DD. and Courtney Edmond (Frischkorn) on April 12, 1925. Langdon's father was a missionary, and he spent considerable time in Brazil, South America. Langdon's first visit to Brazil was at age five, and he attended school in both Brazil and in Richmond.  

Langdon was hired at Galeski Optical as an apprentice in 1953. Along with Clyde Andrews, Mary Holt and Bob French, Langdon was an important contributor to the infamous "Galeski Eye."

In 1955, to service the needs of Galeski's growing clientele, Langdon was designated the "traveling eye man" for Galeski. A few of his travel points included: Norfolk, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia; Charlottesville, Virginia, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Bluefield, West Virginia and Huntington, West Virginia.

The 1950's and 1960's were an incredible changing climate for ocular prostheses. Stock glass prostheses were still being fitted, and the area of western Virginia and West Virginia relied on stock prostheses. The traveling eye man was very welcome to the ophthalmic community in these areas.

Langdon continued to be a significant eye maker in Richmond and the surrounding area, and became a member of the American Society of Ocularists in 1960, three years after its inception. He became board certified in 1980.

With Galeski Optical soon to be sold to a Canadian optical company, Langdon left Galeski Optical and formed his own practice in downtown Roanoke in 1980. He assumed Ludwig Hussar's (the Hungarian dentist) ocular prosthetic practice from Oak Hill, West Virginia in 1981, and briefly collaborated with Pittsburgh and Morgantown, West Virginia ocularist Walter "Bud" Tillman in 1981-82. Langdon continued to work in Roanoke until 1989, when he semi-retired into New Castle, Virginia. His "retirement" came a few years later in 1998 when Michael O. Hughes assumed his practice in southwestern Virginia.

Langdon enjoyed a forty-five year career in the field of making custom ocular prosthetics. He is fondly remembered as "Red" (for his orange-red hair) and for his humor and compassion for those distraught over having lost their eye.