Vision is quite possibly one of the greatest factors in our daily lives that we tend to take for granted. At some point in our lives all of us have noticed there was something that wasn’t quite right with our eyes, and we were easily able to obtain a pair of eyeglasses to correct our vision. But have you ever stopped to think about the visually impaired who came before us? What’s the history behind our vision?
The ideas behind correcting vision started out in Ancient Rome around 4 BC. The Romans started exploring the world of vision with something as simple as water in a glass globe. They would hold this globe up to paper and it would magnify the letters. This was later improved by the Venetians who invented a reading stone, which was essentially a thick piece of glass that could be placed on the paper to magnify the text. This was a very grand achievement, but the inventor of this method remains unknown.
We can thank Salvino D’Armate for the first pair of wearable eyeglasses, although they are far from the designer eyeglasses we see at Benji Frank. D’Armate’s glasses are more what we would refer to today as spectacles; they rested on the nose and had to be held there. These glasses were invented in 1286 in Italy and were essentially made as ‘one size fits all’. This soon changed once again when the Spanish discovered the effects of graded lenses to fit different prescriptions for different people.
The Chinese introduced the idea of weights on the glasses to keep them on a person’s face, but that was just too inconvenient. Finally the first pair of modern glasses was created in London by Edward Scarlett in 1730 which was a great leap in the vision world. Now you could wear glasses and have your hands free. Very soon after in 1784 Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lenses which allowed people to not have to switch glasses to see and to read. Then only ten years later the first optical shop was opened in America by John McAllister, and it only got better from there!
From there the science of vision got better and better. In 1825 George Airy invented the first lenses to correct astigmatism. Two years later John Issac Hawkins improved upon the work of Benjamin Franklin by inventing the trifocal lenses. We also have Theodore Roosevelt to thank for our stylish eyeglasses today because by him wearing them their popularity went way up! From there all kinds of new styles of glasses have emerged and taken the world by storm and we here at Benji Frank are here to meet the newest demands for high quality, trendy and affordable eyeglasses for men. This history of eyeglasses lives on today and your eyes deserve all we can offer them; just see how far we've come and think of what the future holds!