Glasses are an extremely important invention in the history of eye care. For many of us, without glasses, life would be much more difficult. Glasses allow for many individuals to read, drive, and easily see things near and far. But not only do glasses give many people a better ability to live their lives, but they have a fascinating history. To learn more about the history of glasses, continue reading.
The Early History Of Glasses
The history of glasses is a long and interesting story. Glasses have been around for quite a long time. According to some sources, it seems that the first pair of spectacles that were worn on the bridge of the nose were invented around 1290 by an inventor named Salvino D’Armate in Italy. However, there is evidence that points to the fact that glasses may have existed much earlier than the 13th century. Early eyeglasses were made of glass and wooden or leather frames. The glasses were held up the eyes or simply rested on the bridges of the nose. Later, in the Renaissance period, ribbons and string were used to fasten the glasses to the face.
At some point, temples were added to the sides of glasses. Temples are the pieces of the glasses that extend past the ears. But the fastener behind the back of the ear was not invented until a bit later in the history of glasses. A British optician named Edward Scarlett seems to have invented the modern version of glasses around 1727. This modern vision included hooks that would attach to the back of the ear, keeping the glasses on the face. Another notable invention was Benjamin Franklin’s bifocals. Benjamin Franklin created the first bifocals (or as they were called at the time “double spectacles”) in order to correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness in the same pair of glasses.
Increasing Popularity Of Glasses
For many years, glasses were unavailable to the general public. After the invention of the bifocals, the prescriptions in glasses only continued to get better in the 19th century. With better forms of communication and these improvements in the functionality of glasses, glasses began to increase in popularity and started to become more commonplace. The Industrial Revolution made it possible for glasses to be more easily and efficiently produced, and in bulk. This also made glasses more affordable, opening up the world of eyeglasses to poorer populations.
In the late 1800’s rich men wore monocles and with World War 1 then went out of style with much of Europe. After WW1, glasses became much more commonplace meaning that they started to become a fashion statement. Men and women started wearing glasses of different shapes and sizes, colors and made of an assortment of materials.
With the development of plastics in the later 1900’s, horn, wood and metal frames became less common and soon lenses were also being made of plastics. This made glasses much more sturdy and durable. The mid-1900’s also saw the creation of sunglasses which led to better eye protection and more fashion statements being made. These days, glasses are found in almost every house. Glasses are used in all sorts of ways for fashion and for practicality.
Do You Need A New Pair Of Glasses?
Here at Wolcott Optical, we are grateful for the history of glasses. We have made glasses our specialty and are happy to help you find the perfect pair of glasses for any occasion. If you have any questions regarding glasses or need an eye exam to see if you need a new prescription in your glasses, contact us today.