Did you know that spectacles have been around for thousands of years? It’s true, even our ancestors viewed spectacles as a necessity, since it can help with vision problems and can help protect people’s eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. We often take this amazing invention for granted, but imagine how life would be if you could not see anything clearly! The invention of spectacles has helped fuel society’s growth, because members could continue being productive members of society even after their vision starts to fail.
For National Health Education Week, we bring you some interesting highlights from history of one of the world’s most important inventions, glasses!
- The Inuit’s in pre-historic times used to wear flattened walrus ivory glasses in order to help block out the sun’s harmful rays!
- In 64 AD, the Roman emperor Nero used to use polished light emerald green stones as sunglasses when he would watch the gladiators fighting competitions.
- Between the years 1000 and 1250 technology, which was very crude, developed with the use of reading stones.
- In the 12th century, spectacles made from flat panes of smoky quartz were invented by the Chinese.
- According to early recorded evidence, the first glasses appeared in Pisa, Italy around 1286.
- A fresco completed in the 14th century, located in the Chapter House of the Dominican Monastery attached to the Basilica of San Niccolo in Treviso, is the oldest known pictorial representation of eyeglasses.
- In the 15th century it became a common sight to see spectacle peddlers selling glasses on the streets of Western Europe. This happened due to the invention of the printing press, which helped make books available to everyone. As a result the demand for glasses grew dramatically.
- People started to become more aware of the benefits of prescription glasses in the 17th century.
- Until the end of the 18th century round lenses were pretty much universal until the arrival of the oval lenses.
- The use of sunglasses for correcting impairments of vision began in the 19th century with the use of green and blue lenses.
- Bausch & Lomb was asked by the Army Air Corps in the 1930s to help them develop sunglasses to reduce high altitude sun glare.
- Also in the 1930s, Aviator glasses became very popular due to the development of anti-glare sunglasses which was to be sold to the public.
- Since the 1970s, sunglasses have been established as the must have fashion accessory from many Hollywood stars and designers.