Did you ever wonder how eyeglasses came to be ? Think about it we take them for granted. As far back as any of us can remember eyeglasses have been around correcting our poor vision. Without them how many of us would not be able to see. A lot of us would be practically blind. We would not be able to read, drive, see important things. Many of us would not be able to do our jobs.
The beginning of modern eyeglasses can be traced back to 4 Bc. When a Roman named Seneca left a record of using a glob filled with water to read books with.In 1000 Ad there is a mention of glass blowers producing reading stones. As far as anyone can tell these would of been like our magnifying glass today.The next mention of a reading device appears in Roger Bacon’s writings.He was an english philosopher and scientist. He reported the use of reading lenses in 1268. Iis thought by most historians that these reading lenses were made between 1258 – 1289, by monks in Pisa. These early reading lenses were set in bone, metal or leather. They were made in the shape of a V and fit over the nose. This was the first time that is known that the lenses were set in a frame.
In 1306 the word spectacle first appears. It is recorded in a sermon that was given by Giordano da Rivalto, a monk from Pisa. In the sermon he says that it had, been twenty years since the the art of making spectacles had begun. He also referred to them as one of the most useful arts on earth. Rivalto is also credited for using the term Occhiali.This term became popular and was used through out Italy and Europe.
In 1313 in a monastery in Pisa the spectacle was presented to the Academia Della Crustal which was a scholarly society in Florence. Accounts of this were written in Latin and later read by scholars and monks. It was also recorded that a monk by the name of friar Alessandro Spina who lived at Pisa saw the spectacle invention and shared the knowledge with others who made them.
in 1352 an italian artist by the name of Tommaso da modena painted two monks reading and writing manuscripts. One monk holds a magnifying glass and the other one is wearing spectacles resting on his nose. another painting done by the same artist that year at St. Cher shows another monk wearing spectacles.
In 1400 a letter from Arduous states that he received four pairs of spectacles and that three of them could be used for long distance sight.During the 1600’s the idea of frame temples appear. It was Spanish crafts men that came up with the idea of tying ribbon or strings to the frames. These strings or ribbons were than draped over the wearers ears. The next improvement that was made was when these spectacles made there way to china. The Chinese came up with the idea to attach small metal or jade weights to the end of the string or ribbons. In the early 1730s a man named Edward Scarlet started experimenting with the lense frame shape and added ridged temples to the design. These fit the persons face better. A medical instrument designer during the 1750s added a double hinge to the temples . He also started the first tinting of the lenses. He used blue and green to reduce the glare from the lenses.
The early american settlers made the next few improvements. Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lenses. Scotsman J. Mcallister opened the first Optical shop in america in 1799.
In the 1800s the first eye ring was invented in England.It latter became known as a monical and was poular through out the 1800s by men of society. In 1825 Sir George Airy designed a lense to correct Astigmatism. The next change came in 1909 when a bifocal lense was made that used a regular lense and incorporated the bifocal lense into it. This made the wearing of bifocals much easier than ever before. The first progressive multifocal lense was developed in 1958. Just imagine if the romans had never found they could read better with an orb filled with water. What if Alessandro Spina had thought the invention of spectacles evil and the work of the devil? I know I would not be able to read the books i read or be able to see the computer screen to write.
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