5th Century BC Magnifying Lens
The need to see when reading is as old as humanity. From the 5th century B.C., magnifying glasses were used by ancient Egyptians. They were a simple magnifyer, likely used by scholars or those of the noble classes.
By the medieval era, the 13th century, a hand held style that one could hold over the nose were invented in Pisa Italy. These were made with wood, rivet, and twine.
Medieval Eye Glasses (Recreation)
During this era, eye glasses were very important for the working classes. It is a well known fact that sight tends to deteriote when a person is in their 40's. If a craftsman could get his hands on a pair of glasses, he could extend his ability to work and be productive for up to twenty or more years. Thus, their popularity grew.
By the time of the Renaissance, glasses began to become more fashionable with guilding encircling rock crystal, and even gems. Still, they were considered a sign of old age and spectacles were worn only when absolutely necessary. Women especially detested the look of them on their faces.
Round lensed, silver gilt French scissors lorgnette (ca 1750)
It wasn't until the 18th century that lorgnettes were invented, when eye glasses truly became a true fashion statement for women of all ages. Lorgnettes were born from scissor spectacles and had a single long handle built into them. Those who could afford these hand-held designs eagerly purchased them to avoid having glasses on their faces. In 1830, a French manufacturer designed a hinged bridge with a spring, which allowed the eyeglasses to be folded. Lorgnettes became so popular during the mid to late 1800s that manufacturers placed them into all manner of objects including mechanical pencils, fans, and ear trumpets. Ladies preferred these to the horrid looking spectacles they had to wear on their faces.
Lorgnettes inserted in a French fan
Lorgnettes attached to an ear trumpet
Fancy Lorgnettes sold in Tiffany's during the 1800's.
Today, glasses are readily available for all ages, genders, and costs. Thousands of styles can be purchased to correct and enhance our sight whether they be prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses. Online stores now provide cheap eyeglasses that are so affordable, one can purchase many pairs and in different styles and colors to wear for any occasion or to match our garments.
Recently, I took the leap and decided to purchase eye glasses from an online store called THE GLASSES SHOP. I received the glasses today and was pleasantly surprised. Not only is the fit perfect, but the quality of the frame and lens is excellent. Here they are: Anaheim Wayfarer and the price is $35.95. They fit well and are very comfortable with no sliding down the nose and a firm fit behind the ears!
The Glasses Shop even has a promotion to get your first pair free.
THE GLASSES SHOP has offered my readers 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded). All you have to do is go to their website at
Enter promotion code: GSHOT50