Fact File about the Invention of Glasses: Invention: Glasses *** Date of Invention:
Early to Mid 1200's *** Historical Period: Middle Ages (1066 - 1500) *** Category: Medical *** Country of Origin:
Italy *** Facts about the Inventors and the invention of
Fact 1: Who invented Glasses? Glasses were invented by Roger Bacon in
c.1267 during the Middle Ages (1066 - 1500) era of inventions which was a breakthrough addition to advancements made in the area of
Fact 2: Who invented Glasses? Prior to the invention of Glasses people
just had to suffer with poor eyesight. The problem of poor eyesight was
exacerbated with the advent of Christianity when the Bible and other Holy books
were painstakingly copied by monks of various religious orders.
Fact 3: Who invented Glasses? Glassmaking was known to the ancients and
the Romans investigated the use of glass and how viewing objects made objects
appear larger. Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – AD 65), a Roman statesman is said
to have used a glass globe of water as a magnifier to read 'all the books of
Fact 4: Who invented Glasses? During the 13th century glass blowers
working in Venice are known to have produced "reading stones". The reading stone
was a segment of a glass sphere that could be laid against reading material to
magnify the letters.
Fact 5: Who invented Glasses? During the Dark Ages and the Medieval era
monks believed that it was part of their sacred calling and a lifetime
commitment to make ornate copies of the Bible. It could take upwards of 20 years
for a monk to make just one copy of the Bible, and as the years progressed the
eyesight of many monks deteriorated.
Fact 6: Who invented Glasses? Given the work of many religious orders it
is not surprising that the first form of eyeglasses were produced by
monks to help those who spent their lives working as copyists in the
scriptoriums of monasteries. Some of these monks are rumored to have held a
secret knowledge of lens making and spectacles.
Fact 7: Who invented Glasses? The first simple magnifying lenses to be
used as glasses by monks were made in Italy during the early to mid 1200's. The
spectacles were set into bone, metal, or leather mountings that could be
balanced on the bridge of nose.
Fact 8: Who invented Glasses? In 1267 the Franciscan friar Roger Bacon
wrote about his knowledge of Glasses in his 'Opus Majus' stating that "If anyone
examine letters or other minute objects through the medium of crystal or glass
or other transparent substance, if it be shaped like the lesser segment of a
sphere, with the convex side toward the eye, he will see the letters far better
and they will seem larger to him. For this reason such an instrument is useful
to all persons and to those with weak eyes for they can see any letter, however
small, if magnifier enough".
Fact 9: Who invented Glasses? Roger Bacon, was born on c. 1220 in Ilchester, Somerset, England, UK and died
in 1292. The early years of Roger Bacon were spent in Ilchester, Somerset, England, UK where he was raised by his family. Roger Bacon was educated at University of Oxford,
took Holy Orders and became a Franciscan friar. Roger Bacon was a major
proponent of experimental science and achieved fame as a great Medieval
intellectual. He was a philosopher, teacher and a writer. An advocate of new
science he acquired a vast knowledge of the occult and alchemical traditions.
Fact 10: Who invented Glasses? The invention of Glasses in the 1200's is
confirmed by a document, written in 1282 from the archives of the ancient Abbey
of Saint-Bavon-le-Grand, that states that a priest once known as Nicolas Bullet
used glasses when signing an important agreement.
Fact 11: Who invented Glasses? Roger Bacon passed his knowledge of optics
and glasses on to a scholastic philosopher and scientist called Henry of Ghent,
aka Doctor Solemnis. Henry of Ghent then passed the information to Alessandro
della Spina, a Franciscan monk from the Monastery of Pisa, who began work on
making spectacles in Italy and the closely guarded, secret knowledge of making
glasses was no longer confined to religious orders.
Fact 12: Who invented Glasses? The first known paintings of eye
glasses was created in 1352 by the artist Tommaso da Modena. Tommaso da Modena's paintings depicts a
monk wearing eye glasses perched on his nose.
Fact 13: Who invented Glasses? The earliest lenses were convex lenses
that bulged outward in the middle, and were used to correct far-sightedness. The invention of Glasses took a leap
forward in 1451 when concave lenses for nearsightedness (myopia)
were invented by Nicholas of Cusa, using concave lenses that were thinner at the
center and thicker at the ends. Other experiments were taking place using
lenses and the Microscope was invented by Zacharias
Janssen in 1595.
Fact 14: Who invented Glasses? The German mathematician and astronomer
Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630) offered a scientifically correct explanation of
the effectiveness of concave and convex lenses to correct vision deficits for
both the near and far-sighted making glasses much more useful to the average
Fact 15: Who invented Glasses? In 1784 Benjamin Franklin invented the
first pair of Bifocals. Benjamin Franklin suffered from both myopia and presbyopia, and to avoid the annoyance of switching between pairs of glasses to
read or to see distant objects he invented a frame that held two lens sections
together in one pair of glasses.
Fact 16: Who invented Glasses? The use of glasses spread from Italy to
the Netherlands, England, Germany, Spain, and France. The French and many
English aristocrats were extremely self-conscious about wearing glasses and only
wore them in private. In 1814, the Austrian inventor J.F. Voigtlander marketed a
rimless monocle and these became the rage and highly fashionable in France and
Fact 17: Who invented Glasses? Trifocals, eye glasses with lenses that
have three regions which correct for distance, arm's length, and near vision
were invented in London by John Isaac Hawkins and patented in 1827. In the same
year Sir George Biddle Airy invented glasses to correct astigmatism, a form of
impaired eyesight due to the irregular conformation of the cornea.
Fact 18: Who invented Glasses? The Pince-nez, spectacles clipped to the
nose by a spring, are believed to have appeared in the 1840's.
Fact 19: Who invented Glasses? In the 1800's spectacles were sold from
stores and travelling salesmen. The customer tried on different types of glasses
and choose a pair that seemed to improve their vision.
Fact 20: Who invented Glasses? The ophthalmoscope was invented by Hermann
Von Helmholtz in 1851 which revolutionized eye care. The ophthalmoscope is a
device used to examine the inside of the eye, including the retina and the optic
Fact 21: Who invented Glasses? The eye chart (Snellen chart), used
to measure visual acuity, was invented in 1862 by the Dutch ophthalmologist
Fact 22: Who invented Glasses? The invention of the Contact lenses was made
in 1887 by the German inventor
Fact 23: Who invented Glasses? The term ‘20/20 vision’ is a direct result
of the Snellen chart. The top number refers to the distance in feet from the
chart. The bottom number indicates the distance at which a person with normal
eyesight can read the same line.
Fact 24: Who invented Glasses? In the 1920's sunglasses became
fashionable as Hollywood movie stars began to wear them to protect their eyes
from bright studio lights. Polaroid filters were invented in the 1930's and
contact lenses were developed in the 1940's. Unbreakable lenses were invented in
1955 and in 1971 a new type of lenses were developed which combined the
properties of glass with plastic.
Fact 25: Who invented Glasses? Today, there are glasses to correct
almost all kinds of eye problems and continuous research and development of new
technologies will lead to further innovations in the future.