George W. Shaver, president and treasurer of the Universal Lens Company, of Atchison, Kan., is an example of what may be accomplished in the West by a man whose only equipment in life was a common school education, a pair of good hands, business ability and willingness to work. He has attained a high place in the business world, by his own unaided efforts and is one of the citizens of Atchison of whom she may justly be proud. He was born in Adrian, Mich., Jan. 17, 1857, a son of David O. and Harriet S. Shaver. The father was a railroad man, being master mechanic of the Pennsylvania Central railway for over forty years. He spent his entire life in the East and was at last laid to rest there, in 1906. Mrs. Shaver now resides in Chicago.
George W. Shaver spent his boyhood in Michigan, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, Pa. He was sent to the public schools until the age of sixteen, when he entered the railroad office and worked as timekeeper until he attained his majority. The young man had heard of the many golden opportunities offered a man in the West and determined to seek his fortune in Kansas. He located in Coffey county in October, 1877, where he engaged in farming and began to raise stock, and this business continued without interruption, with the exception of one year, until 1907. In that year the Universal Lens Company was organized, under a charter from the State of Kansas, by J. M. Osborne, W. W. Kite and J. B. Kearey, and Mr. Shaver became interested in the concern, subsequently being elected president and treasurer. The other officer at the present time is, H. D. Stone, the secretary, as Mr. Shaver also acts as general manager. The first factory was at Waverly, Kan., but on June 21, 1910, was removed to Atchison, and located at 1207-9-11 Main street. The company is supplying a glass which is of great benefit to humanity, especially those afflicted with impaired or imperfect vision. Recently the company perfected a process of making the fused tri-focal lens without aberration, that is, in a manner so that a straight line viewed, as passing from one part of the lens to another does not seem to bend, this principle being fully covered by several patents, owned by the company, and the lens manufactured is perfectly adapted to all cases where the accommodation of the eye has failed materially, and is acknowledged the masterpiece of the optician's art. They not only manufacture the tri-focal lens, but also, the bi-focal, or any other kind of lens known. Theirs is the only complete factory in Kansas, and the only in the world manufacturing the tri-focal lens. They make everything in the optical line, and employ a large force of experienced workmen. Since becoming established in Atchison the business of the firm has increased, and it is regarded as one of the progressive and prosperous business houses of the city.
On Oct. 1, 1878, Mr. Shaver was united in marriage with Alice C. Brandon, of Burlington, Kan., who was born in Valparaiso, Ind. They have two children, Nancy Zielley and David O., the latter being assistant manager of the Universal Lens Company. Fraternally Mr. Shaver is affiliated with the Masonic order and Ancient Order of United Workmen.Pages 920-921 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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