Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spectacular Spectacles

The 'Glasses Apostle', 1403 [Wikipedia]
Did you know that eyeglasses were invented in the 13th century in Italy? I had no idea that they were made in the Middle Ages, but people had noticed the magnifying properties of lenses as early as the 5th century BC, in Egypt. The first sunglasses were made of thin slices of smoky quartz in 12th century China - I don't know whether there were frames for these or whether you just had to hold them up when you went out on a sunny day.

The Rotarian, October 1919
Eyeglasses were certainly well known by the 19th century - and many of my ancestors wore specs, mostly the women. My great great grandmother wore little green or blue spectacles, even indoors, as early as the 1850s. My grandmother wore little gold-rimmed specs without side pieces, even in her wedding portrait - she liked how she looked in them! And I like my glasses, too. I've been wearing glasses since I was 7. They were quite heavy back then, though. Today you can get the most amazingly powerful thin light glasses and that has made reading and writing (and just plain getting around, because boy am I nearsighted and astigmatic!) such a pleasure. No more 1980s half-inch thick rimless glasses  - and no more indentations on my nose. This is all good.

You know what else is good? Zenni Optical (prescription sunglasses)* has all kinds of cool prescription sunglasses (and regular glasses, too)  for excellent prices, so that you can get the 'best bang' for your money - a good idea when purchasing anything, right? Clark Howard, a nationally syndicated financial expert, thinks that buying your glasses online from Zenni Optical is an excellent idea; check out what he has to say here at CNN. So...maybe I will get some new prescription sunglasses! I love mine because not only can I actually see in bright sunlight (always a plus!) -  but also, since I'm not in ancient China, I don't have to hold pieces of smoky quartz up to my eyes.

*Or else try Zenni Optical here, because I'm not sure the first link is working...


vanilla said...

Interesting history of spectacles. I knew they went "way back" but had no grasp of the detail.

I have been so blessed. I haven't had to wear glasses since my cataract/lens implant surgeries! Well, shades, of course.

vanilla said...

btw, since you are from NYC you might be interested in this tidbit. My late mother-in-law grew up in Harlem. Her father was an optician. Name was Quirk.

vanilla said...

And I erred. Father's name was Knapp. Her mother was a Quirk.

Dimestore Lipstick said...

my great-grandma wore pince-nez glasses, too.