The Ayres London story begins with the name.
Ernest Ayres was born in 1889 in Manchester. A craftsman who worked with his hands, Ernest’s sight was important to him.
So when his eyes were damaged in World War One, he found himself needing glasses to carry on working in civilian life.
In the years that followed, Ernest got through a number of pairs and, when he passed away in 1962, his last set of spectacles were among the belongings left in his estate.
Scroll forward to the 2010s, and Ernest’s grandson Mark was learning his own craft as a medical student.
“Evidently we were both good with our hands. My grandad’s work very much echoes what I do as a heart specialist, where hand-eye coordination is critical and you need to take great care making very precise, very small movements.
Also like his grandad, Mark’s eyes came under more and more strain, due to the long hours of study and the intense precision needed for his medical work.
He started to wear glasses, and after getting through five pairs, grew increasingly frustrated with the cases they came in.
Usually made of plastic, these were no match for the busy life of a senior clinician, and failed to perform their primary function – protecting their contents.
Then one day he remembered Ernest.
“I had my grandad’s last pair of glasses, and they came in a really well-made, all metal case. I thought – that’s what I need.”
Mark didn’t want to use the precious heirloom itself so set about the task of finding something similar.
“But I just couldn’t find anything and a number of people kept saying ‘well why don’t you make them yourself?’”
And so Ayres London was born.
Months of prototyping, design work, and testing then followed- applying the same meticulous attention to detail as necessary in his day job implanting cardiac pacemakers inside the heart- until, in 2019, the first fully fledged Ayres London case finally came off the production line, aka Mark’s kitchen table.
It was a glasses case like no other.
Perfectly engineered from aircraft-grade aluminium, beautiful to look at, painstakingly designed and produced.
Each Ayres London case is individually machine-tooled from two single blocks of metal.
This is 7075 grade aluminium, used throughout the airline industry because of its tensile strength, resistance to corrosion, and lightness of weight.
The initial process of machining, the best way to achieve extremely fine tolerances in metal manufacturing, takes around 30 minutes.
This produces one half of the case.
Another aluminium block is loaded, and the second half is created.
There are five carefully engineered grooves carved into the inside surface of the top half, hidden beneath the rubber inlay. (We don’t recommend you peel this back to check; you’ll have to take our word for it.)
This ensures that the top half is slightly lighter than the bottom half so that on a flat surface, the case is perfectly balanced and always sits just the way it should, without rocking.
The two halves are then hand-assembled using a specific type of sprung metal for the hinges, secured with extra strong grub screws that are specially imported for the job.
Finally the rubber inlay, also custom-made, is glued in by hand.
Which is why an Ayres London case is like no other, and why Ernest’s story has a new ending.
His name now lives on, in the elegant form of an Ayres London case – machine tooled, assembled by hand, and beautiful to use.