A History of
Glasses & Spectacles
Today, many people wear some form of vision correction device. These may include reading glasses, bifocals, sunglasses, biopics, or contacts. But how did these extraordinarily useful correction devices come to be? Let's take a ride through history and find out with this informative historical timeline of glasses and spectacles.
1000 A.D. - The first documented creation of a vision aid is invented by an unknown individual. This device is called a Reading Stone. It is a spherical glass which magnifies text or images when it is laid atop them.
1284- Salvino D'Armato of Italy creates the very first vision aid which is wearable. These are the very first official glasses.
Somewhere between 1571 & 1630 - Johannes Kepler conducts extensive scientific research, and discovers the proper functions for the pupil, cornea, and retina. Using this information, Kepler is able to correctly explain how human vision works
1752- James Ayscough improves upon D'Armato's first glasses by creating a pair with double-hinged side pieces. These become available in both clear and tinted formats, representing the first set of sunglasses. These originals were tinted in green or blue.
1784- Renowned inventor Benjamin Franklin creates the first set of bifocals to fix his own sight issues.
1847- Sir George Biddell Airy invents the first cylindrical lenses meant to correct astigmatism. He first uses them to correct his own sight imperfections.
1919- The famous eyeglass company, Foster Grant, is founded by Sam Foster, to commercial produce vision aids.
Between 1829 and 1901- Adolf Eugen Fick is credited with the invention of the first contact lenses, allowing those who are visually challenged a secondary option to traditional glasses worn on the bridge of the nose.
From 1929 to 1932- The first polarized sunglasses are invented by Edwin Land. HE then teams up with George Wheelwright III to found the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories Company in Boston.
1937- Edwin Land moves forward to found the Polaroid Corporation. This company mass produces polarized lenses that are then used to create sunglasses, automobile headlights, and stereo scope lenses (better known as 3D lenses).
2008- Joshua Silver designs the most modernly fashionable and well-known form of glasses. These eyeglasses are formed with adjustable corrective glasses formed by liquid silicone and a highly pressurized process.
Today- Glasses now come with many improvements, including memory metal alloy frames which return to their original shape after being bent, and lens coatings which deter scratching or smudging. There are even glasses which transfer from a clear coating to a polarized coating when hit by a bright light.