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Biographical entry Schultz, Donald Herbart (1911 - 1987)

7 April 1911
Summertown, South Australia, Australia
24 August 1987
Toorak Gardens, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Inventor and Optical physicist


Donald Schultz was an optical innovator and instrumental in the formation and growth one of the world's largest ophthalmic lens companies. Initially indentured to his uncle, Carl Laubman, at Laubman & Pank optometry practice, Schultz completed his optometry training in 1929. During WWII he was co-opted to Weapons Research Establishment, to developing optical instruments for the war effort. After the war he returned to Laubman & Pank where the instrument construction department developed instruments ranging from an aerial photostereoscope to a binocular catadioptric magnifier for low-vision patients. In the1950s he experimented with the new plastic material CR39, inventing a process to produce scratch-resistant optical lenses by the millions. Scientific Optical Laboratories of Australia (later SOLA International), a subsidiary of Laubman & Pank, continued to work on this and other innovations including helium-neon lasers and low-vision aids. The pioneering Schultz-Crock spectacle-mounted indirect ophthalmoscope, developed by Schultz from a prototype of Gerard Crock, remained in production for over 35 years and was sold world-wide. It received an Australian Design Council award for outstanding industrial design. The later Combined Operating Magnifier and Indirect Ophthalmoscope (COMINDO) for use in retinal surgery was awarded the Prince Philip Prize for Australian Design.



Education - Graduated in optometry, University of Adelaide
1931 - 1955
Career position - Lecturer in Optometry, University of Adelaide
1940 - 1945
Career position - Co-opted to Weapons Research Establishment, Adelaide
1944 - 1976
Career position - Director, Laubman & Pank
1960 - 1976
Career position - Director, Scientific Optical Laboratories of Australia Pty Ltd (later SOLA International Pty Ltd)
Career position - Founding member, National Vision Research Institute
Magnifier and Indirect Ophthalmoscope)
Life event - Retired
Award - Honorary Life Membership, Victorian College of Optometry
Award - DSc honoris causa, Flinders University

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Bettison, Jim, 'Schultz, Donald Herbert (1911-1987), Optical Physicist, Optometrist, Inventor and Benefactor', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, 2012, pp. 397-8. Details

Journal Articles

  • McAllister, Ian L., Keeler, Richard and Burrows, Clive, 'Schultz-Crock binocular ophthalmoscope', Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, vol. 41, 2013, pp. 603-6. Details
  • Watkins, Rod D., 'Donald Herbert Schultz, intellectual, inventor and benefactor, 1910 - 1987', Clinical and Experimental Optometry, vol. 87, no. 3, 2004, pp. 187-90. Details

Helen Cohn