The History Of Spectacles (Eyeglasses)

rynner2

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Whilst it is entirely-possible that Jane Austin, usefully and obligingly, actually had three (say) autobiographically-recorded / differently-coloured pairs of tortiseshell glasses, perhaps made by Dixey & Son (as an exemplar 1770s glasses maker), the technologies of optometry and eyeglasses manufacture were in their infancies.
Eyeglasses were being made over a century earlier:

The earliest recorded working telescopes were the refracting telescopes that appeared in the Netherlands in 1608. Their development is credited to three individuals: Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen, who were spectacle makers in Middelburg, and Jacob Metius of Alkmaar.[4] Galileo heard about the Dutch telescope in June 1609, built his own within a month,[5] and improved upon the design in the following year. In the same year, Thomas Harriot became the first person known to point a telescope skyward in order to make telescopic observations of a celestial object.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telescope#History
 

Ermintruder

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This linked page contains a huge amount of Fortean-relevant topics. I would safely say it is quite spectacular.

And again we can see an unvarying trend: as always, the Vikings appear to have got there first (correction- let's just say previously. Because the unidentified antediluvian tribe of mysterious whoknowswhats will have beaten them as well).

Honestly.....that history page from the College of Optometrists is amazing.

Salvino D'Armati's Fraudulent Epitaph
Since 1684 historians have known of the following epitaph to be found in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence: Here lies / Salvino d'Armato of the Armati / of Florence / Inventor of Spectacles / May God forgive him his sins / AD 1317. Philologists have since worked out that the use of the word 'inventor' is anachronistic in Italy at this date whilst genealogists have failed to trace this particular member of the family. The epitaph is now considered to have been a deliberate family fraud of unknown date.
What?? How can it have been known since 1684, then?? Why would anyone, family or otherwise (back in the 17thC) make an illegitimate claim, trying to push back to 300years earlier, the invention of spactacles?

Especially if they were invented prior to the 14thC, anyway?

And this just compounds the puzzle

The actual plaque in existence today dates only from 1841 and was removed in the 1890s from the outside wall and hidden away low down in a corner of one of the side chapels.
Because...they didn't want it to be a public spectacle...?

Perhaps making false claims as to prestigious family inventions is a more-common historical trope than I would've imagined.

(I could be diverted by that Optometrist info page for weeks...and it even has a Roger Bacon aspect)
 
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Perhaps making false claims as to prestigious family inventions is a more-common historical trope than I would've imagined.
Possibly, or maybe the plaque from 1841 replaced an earlier plaque and there was a mistake in interpretation. I don't know how different Italian from 1317 compared to the 1800's would be. It might originally have read -

Here lies / Salvino d'Armato of the Armati / of Florence / Inventor Wearer of Spectacles / May God forgive him his sins / AD 1317.
 

EnolaGaia

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... What?? How can it have been known since 1684, then?? Why would anyone, family or otherwise (back in the 17thC) make an illegitimate claim, trying to push back to 300years earlier, the invention of spactacles? ...
The Wikipedia article clarifies who did what when ...

The earliest reference comes from a 1684 book which relates the alleged epitaph as an entry in the church's burial register. The author isn't claimed to be a member of D'Armati's family, the burial register was apparently in his possession after having been obsoleted by church renovations, and he never produced this alleged register (nor has it been found since ... ).

The plaque, created and installed in 1855 by a (presumably non-family) historian, apparently adopts the 1684 version of the alleged register entry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvino_D'Armati
 

EnolaGaia

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These 18th century eyeglasses salvaged from a landfill brought $5,000 at auction.

MartinsMargins-Eyeglasses.jpg

Unusual antique eyeglasses rescued from landfill sell for $5,000

An unusual pair of eyeglasses believed to be nearly 300 years old were rescued from a New Zealand landfill and auctioned online for more than $5,000.

The Tip Shop, a store operated by the Wellington City Council for items that would have otherwise ended up in the Southern Landfill, said the glasses, a style known as Martin's Margins, were rescued from the trash and listed by the store on auction site Trade Me.

A last-minute bidding war brought the final price to $5,282 just before the auction ended Sunday night.

Martin's Margins were designed by optician Benjamin Martin in 1756. The unusual thick-framed look of the glasses results from Martin's belief that exposure to sunlight would cause damage to eyeglass lenses.

The Tip Shop said no maker's mark could be identified on the frames, so it was unclear whether the glasses sold in Sunday's auction were made by Martin himself.

The winning bidder, Aaron Smylie, said he bought the glasses as a tribute to his partner, Helen Hammond, who died May 28 after a fight with cancer.

Smylie said he and Hammond would often use FaceTime to video chat, and the glasses reminded him of a screenshot he kept showing Hammond using a filter that gave her round glasses and whiskers.

"I like quirky stuff anyway, and that appealed to me, but it was more the emotional side. I guess I just got carried away with the auction," Smylie told Stuff.co.nz.
SOURCE: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2020/0...ed-from-landfill-sell-for-5000/4941592248050/
 

blessmycottonsocks

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According to Pliny the Elder, Nero would use a polished gem as a lens to watch gladiatorial shows.
Maybe not spectacles as we know them, but just possibly the precursor to a monocle or even opera glasses.
The presence of ancient magnifying lenses at sites like Knossos and Pompeii is evidence that the technology certainly existed.

IMG_1025.JPG
 

Naughty_Felid

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This linked page contains a huge amount of Fortean-relevant topics. I would safely say it is quite spectacular.

And again we can see an unvarying trend: as always, the Vikings appear to have got there first (correction- let's just say previously. Because the unidentified antediluvian tribe of mysterious whoknowswhats will have beaten them as well).

Honestly.....that history page from the College of Optometrists is amazing.



What?? How can it have been known since 1684, then?? Why would anyone, family or otherwise (back in the 17thC) make an illegitimate claim, trying to push back to 300years earlier, the invention of spactacles?

Especially if they were invented prior to the 14thC, anyway?

And this just compounds the puzzle


Because...they didn't want it to be a public spectacle...?

Perhaps making false claims as to prestigious family inventions is a more-common historical trope than I would've imagined.

(I could be diverted by that Optometrist info page for weeks...and it even has a Roger Bacon aspect)
Sunstones - also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunst...that the,of sunstones as navigational devices.
 

hunck

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I remember an item from Tomorrow's World years ago presenting a new idea - glasses that had hollow plastic lenses filled with liquid stored in the frame which the wearer could adjust by turning a screw on the frame to push more or less liquid into the lens to adjust the profile for their own particular need. They could be adjusted for reading distance or really close-up work & each side could be adjusted separately if you didn't have matching eyes. They looked a bit clunky & were presented as cheap do-it-yourself glasses for the 3rd world where eye tests & glasses weren't available.

They struck me as a great idea at the time, probably 70s or maybe early 80s, & I've never heard of them since - whatever happened to them? Has some corporation bought the concept & shelved it so as to not do away with the existing glasses business?. With technology moving on, they still seem a great idea - tiny motors controlled by microprocessors could automate various settings. Or did it turn out to be just a crap & impractical concept?
 

EnolaGaia

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I'm pretty sure you're referring to the work of Joshua Silver:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Silver

... and the organization he founded:

http://cvdw.org

The adjustable focus lenses have in fact been produced and distributed, but things are still in the earliest stages of development and dissemination.

The primary disadvantage to this approach is the flip side of its flexibility - i.e., the wearer must manually adjust the lenses whenever he / she needs to change the relative focal distance.

In the developed world this approach isn't cost-competitive with progressive / bifocal static lenses, which merely require the wearer to adjust his / her head orientation to change relative focus.
 
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