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Erker Bros. Optical Co. storefront in St. Louis from the late 1800s

Our Story

Discover how our family-owned retail store from 1879 grew into a leading global eyewear design and manufacturing house.


Founded in St. Louis in 1879, our ancestor A.P. Erker opened the Erkers Optical Co., offering anything with a lens: eyeglasses, sunglasses, cameras, goggles, microscopes, telescopes, binoculars, and more. 


In 1904, we served as the official photographer for the St. Louis World's FairIn 1927, we provided the goggles Charles Lindbergh wore as he flew the Spirit of St. Louis from New York to Paris, marking the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. In the mid 1900s, we opened the first optical lab west of the Mississippi, allowing us to manufacture our lenses onsite. 

After narrowing focus towards eyeglasses, the family business grew into a global wholesale eyewear design and manufacturing house at the forefront of optic design and expert frame craftmanship. In 2003, we formed our wholesale business, Studio Optyx, which became home to a number of premium and luxury eyewear brands. We acquired NW77th in 2013, forming a brand that caters to younger generations. 


Since its founding, the family-business has been passed down through 5 generations of Erkers, making us the oldest optical company in the United States still owned by the descendants of its founding family. We now strive to uphold our family's legacy through the craft of high-quality, handcrafted eyeglasses capable of lasting a lifetime, coming out with new releases in the spring and fall of each year


Aside from our two in-house brands, Erker's 1879 and NW77th, we are a proud distributer of Monoqool, a brand with deep roots in the Danish design tradition, using screwless technology to create 3D printed eyewear. 


We craft our products using the strongest materials possible, including surgical-grade stainless steel and our custom-designed cellulose acetate color blends.


Click through the slider to explore our premium eyewear brands and visit their pages to learn more. 


Our heritage brand encompasses the pride we take in our family's history. Each design features a blend of classic and modern elements inspired by our past and the city of St. Louis.

Group of people wearing eyewear from Erkers1879


Speak with a representative to learn more about our business and brands. If you'd like to see the collections in person, request to set up a visit from a local sales representative. 

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