It is really hard to imagine the moment when the first glasses were invented, what was the story behind that, how this idea evolved from a random thought to a pretty impressive scientific discovery people use so many years afterward.

The history does not really have any record who exactly was the very first inventor of glasses; instead, it has many different variations types for various purposes, with the course of time they all started to compliment each other and formed something that we know by eyewear and what we use every day of our lives now.

The Mayans, the Egyptians, the Chinese and the Greeks – they all made an incredible accomplishments thousands of years ago.

Roman tragedian Seneca (4 BC -65AD) used a glass globe of water as a magnifier to read books. Then, Italian monks, at their turn, in the middle ages used glass spheres as magnifying glasses to read.

By the 13th century, Venetians glass blowers found the way to make reading stones as a solid glass with a handler and a frame. Those were a prototype of magnifying lenses people use nowadays.

First glasses, old sunglasses
Reading glass more famous as a magnifying loupe

Later on, in tries of making it more functional and convenient in use, these magnifying lenses for reading were shaped like two small magnifying glasses, which found its place on the nose bridge.

To the biggest surprise, the sunglasses invention was not relevant to the regular glasses and the first sunglasses hardly look like glasses at all – it was a construction used by the emperor Nero of ancient Rome to reduce the sun’s glare while he watched gladiators fight.

Similar construction was used in China in the 12th century. Sunglasses of that time had no corrective powers nor any protection from UV rays but did protect the eyes from glare. They were used mostly by courts and the purpose was to hide their facial expressions when they interrogated witnesses.

First glasses, old sunglasses
The prototype of sunglasses

First lenses were found to belong to the year of 1752. During that time there was a belief that certain blue or green tinted glass could prevent eyes from certain diseases and impairments. But again those did not protect the eyes from the sun.

Later on, in the 19th and 20th century, glasses started to be used as a protection from sun and were commonly prescribed to people with sensitivity to light. Some of the celebrities were wearing sunglasses before that and it is believed, that mass market was born at that stage.

While these are rather a historical guess than an actual fact, we certainly glad glasses and sunglasses got that popular everywhere, because due to that, each every one of us can compliment our looks with eyewear; this also influenced our way of dressing and choosing accessories as it became a new version of art!

 

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