Bifocals bear Benjamin Franklin’s name because he is believed to be the first person to wear a lens that allowed for both distance and close-up focus. There may have been others who were also thinking about the issue of needing a bifocal lens, but it is generally believed that Benjamin Franklin was the first person to create and wear them.
As part of the aging process, our vision begins to change. It happens to all of us. At some point it becomes more and more difficult to see things close up and further away. Before long bifocals become part of our vocabulary. Bifocal glasses have come a long way since being invented by Benjamin Franklin. Let’s take a look at where bifocal glasses came from and what we’re able to do with them now. Continue reading
Bifocal Reading Glasses presents you the History of Bifocals:
The origin of reading bifocals begins with the origin of magnification, which dates all the way back to Egyptian hieroglyphs around 700 BC.
The earliest written record of such magnification appears to be the first century AD when Seneca the Younger, a tutor of Emperor Nero, wrote how small letters could be made more large and clear using a “globe or glass filled with water.” Appropriately, there is written evidence that Emperor Nero’s enjoyment of gladiator games was improved by the use of a vision-correcting lens in the form of an emerald.
Later, many believe corrective lenses of some form were utilized by Abbas Ibn Firnas in the 9th century AD. Abbas Ibn Firnas developed a method to create clear glass. He shaped and polished the glass into rocks of round he called reading stones. The earliest concrete evidence of these sorts of magnifying devices (utilizing a convex lens to magnify an image) seems to be the Book of Optics, published by Alhazen in about 1021.
Translating this vital source of knowledge into Latin during the 12th century led to the earliest eyeglasses Continue reading
While sussing out the content for my new site dedicated to a common contraption I find beloved — bifocal reading glasses — I’ve come to appreciate and enjoy their history more than I thought I would.
From Salvino D’Armate’s clever invention back in the 13th century to Benjamin Franklin’s clever refinement in the first decade of the United States’ existence, their evolution is more peppered with the ebb and flow of technology and fashion than I’d imagined.
So while I originally intended this site to be mostly a consumer-driven site, I’ve decided to make it a bit more of a hobby site as well. I’ll still do my best to help you find the right glasses for you at the right price, but I’ll also invest some space on this blog to just celebrating the cozy history of these clever little eyeglasses. I’ve put part of my history of glasses on the front page, but I probably will extract and expand this in the future. Continue reading