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History of Spectacle Lenses in The Middle Ages

Around 1000 AD, the use of "reading stone" began spread out in Europe. This was a magnifying glass made with transparent quartz or beryl, used among monks to help them to read manuscripts. The invention of reading stones was based on the theories of  Alhazen, the Arabic astronomer and mathematician. However more than two centuries pass before they conceive the idea of putting lens directly under the eye.

The first spectacles made their appearance in Italy in 1260 and were made of two convenx lenses, in a wooden framework, connected by a nail. This first version of spectacle was not very practical without arms. However, in the Middle Ages wearing spectacles signified knowledge and learning. Painters of that time often depicted famous persons with spectacles when portraying even though they had lived before the time of invention. An Engishman Fanciscan firar Roger Bacon, can be associated with the appearance of one of the first spectacles. More specific he commented, "Such an instrument is useful to elderly people and to those with weak sight because they can see any letter, however small, if magnified enough”.Although some sources claim that Bacon was the first to invent the spectacles, this still remains as a myth. We still do not know who actually invented the first spectacle lenses. 

Printing press invention in 15th century and the growth of availability of books highlighted the needs for practical spectacles among the elderly and the weak-sighted. Soon the mass production of inexpensive spectacles spread, and the spectacles became not only practical tools, but also a new kind of fashion accessories which catapulted spectacles to their greatest recognition.