If you ever visited the offices of Jobson Optical Group back when we were headquartered in the Soho area of NYC, you may have thought one of our conference rooms resembled a library. This conference room was informally named the Editorial Conference Room, mainly because it was located in the area where the 20/20 and Vision Monday editorial team desks were. This conference room gave library “vibes” because it had an expansive wall of bookshelves filled with large antique-like books that looked like encyclopedias—or any old reference books that can be found in a library. They appeared ancient to me when I first began my career at Jobson over 20 years ago, so I can only imagine what they look like to the digital-centric younger generations of today, some of whom may have never set foot in a library.
These books were fondly known to the edit team and our office colleagues as the “bound volumes,” nicknamed as such because every print issue of 20/20 since our inception in September 1974 has been compiled and physically bound into these books—a collection of all our issues in chronological order by month and year. The heritage of 20/20 along with our industry is encapsulated within these bound volumes, and judging by their thickness, they speak volumes (pun intended) to the richness of our history.
The 20/20 team and I have been poring through these bound volumes as we begin to create content in celebration of our 50th anniversary this year. If you have been around long enough, you might remember 20/20 originated as a tabloid sized publication, longer and wider than its current size. It wasn’t until 2003 when we resized to the more modern “square” size we are today. You can imagine how heavy and bulky the bound books from the early days are—I swear some of them weigh as much as I do. Going through them has been quite interesting to say the least, it’s pretty mind blowing to see how our magazine AND our industry has evolved throughout each decade—from eyewear trends to lens technologies, to the stories we featured, and even the ads that appeared. Seeing familiar (and younger) faces from the industry and from our own Jobson team has also been fun.
I found myself getting a little emotional when I looked in the bound volumes from the early 2000s, which is around the time my career began in optical. It brought back a lot of memories of those early days as a young woman embarking on a new chapter in a new industry, inspired by the pages she read in 20/20. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a newcomer, today in 2024, the 20/20 edit and art team is honored to continue delivering you that inspirational vision. Join us as we take a nostalgic look back at our history as we forge ahead to an even brighter future.