Norman Edmund, founder of S.J. landmark, Edmund Scientific

Posted: January 19, 2012

Norman Wilson Edmund, 95, founder of the Barrington-based Edmund Scientific, died Tuesday, according to a press release by the company he founded.

His son, Robert Edmund, CEO of Edmund optics, made the announcement in a statement.

Norman Edmund was born in Camden, worked as a newspaper boy and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. He became an Eagle Scout and went on to graduate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1939, according to the company website.

Edmund suffered from tuberculosis after graduation, and met his his future wife, Pauline Barna, his nurse as he recovered.

Edmund developed an avid interest in optics during World War II and started a small mail order business selling lenses through Edmund Salvage Corporation.

Edmund began the company from a card table in his home. Pauline served as VP of operations - a position she would hold for the next 30 years.

The business grew to a variety of optical devices, from prisms to telescopes, working with the Franklin Arsenal in Philadelphia.

Soon, he counted major research labs and university as among customers of his newly formed Edmund Scientific, Inc.

In 1948, he build a headquarters in Barrington, Camden County.

In the 1970s, his retail store at the site known as the 'Mad Scientist Room' became a mecca for the scientifically curious, selling gizmos and surplus optics to the public.

A psychedelic light show attracted children from throughout the region.

Edmund retired in 1975, passing the company to his son, Robert, then retired to Florida.

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