When was the first spectacles believed to be in use?
First earliest authentic reference to SPECTACLES
The first earliest authentic reference to SPECTACLES dates from 1289 and is contained in Sandro di Popozo’s manuscript work `Traite de Conduite de la Famille’. He wrote : ‘I am so debilitated by age that without the glasses known as spectacles, I would no longer be able to read or write. These have recently been invented for the benefit of poor old people whose sight has become weak. Richard Corson in his Fashions in Eyeglasses (London 1967) gives Italy 1287 as the probable place and date of the invention. There are various claims as to the identity of the inventor, but none has been substantiated.
In Britain spectacles are first mentioned in an inventory of the effects of Bishop Walter de Stapledon made at Exeter Palace in 1326. They were described as having silver frames and were valued at 2 s. SPECTACLES WITH CONCAVE LENSES for myopia are first depicted in a portrait of Pope Leo X painted by Raphael in 1517. He is said to have used them most frequently when out hunting.
Until the 17th century, lenses were generally selected at random from the spectacle-maker’s stock according to the whim of the customer. The first attempt to GRADE SPECTACLE LENSES systematically was made in 1623 by Valdes in Seville.
The first spectacles with rigid side pieces TEMPLE SPECTACLES were manufactured by the London optician Edward Scarlett in 1727. The side pieces terminated in a scroll. Now it was possible to breathe without the spectacles falling off one’s nose. Previously the only method of retaining the spectacles against the head had been the thin cords that looped round the ears.