When his friend, John Jacob Bausch, the owner of a retail optical shop in Rochester, needed additional capital in 1854, he loaned him $60 on Bausch's promise that, if the business ever grew to such an extent that he needed a partner, Lomb would be brought in. The business did grow and together they formed the Bausch & Lomb Company.
Lomb enlisted in the New York State Volunteers and fought in the American Civil War as sergeant, lieutenant and captain. When the war ended, he left the military and returned to the company.
In 1885, Lomb, along with Max Lowenthal, Ezra R. Andrews, Frank Ritter, William F. Peck and others, founded the Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology), whose mission was to offer "education for making a living." Lomb served as chairman of the Institute Board until 1891, and continued to be a strong supporter of the school until his death.
The following have been named in Henry Lomb's honor: