There is an interesting saying that “noses were made to support eyeglasses, hence we have eyeglasses.” But who invented glasses? Where was their birth place? The truth is that nobody has the absolute right answer. We can only find some traces of glasses from some anecdotes.
The oldest optical lens known in today was discovered from the ruins of an ancient city in Iraqi. It was made by crystal. Thus, we can see that the ancient Babylonian had got some knowledge about the zoom function of lens at least 2700 years ago, but at that time, they didn’t know how to use glasses.
In late 13th century, glasses appeared in Europe and Asia almost at the same time. Marko polo wrote in 1260 that Chinese people wore glasses in order to read clearly. But at this time, the main function of glasses is not for reading, but as an ornament to show one’s status, because glasses were made my crystal, diamond, or amethyst and frames were also made by valuable metals. It has been recorded that some gentlemen would like to trade a horse for a pair of glasses at that time, which demonstrated that glasses’ enchantment as a kind of status symbol.
But when glasses were first introduced into England, they were not so welcomed as in other parts of the world. There people showed great contempt for glasses and refused to wear them. Many priests criticized that using glasses to regain vision is defiance to god. A caricaturist who hates glasses so much that he drew glasses on every piece of her caricature. But to his disappointment, it’s such behavior that made glasses even more popular.
Compare to England, glasses received a very warm welcome in Spain. In 1612, a Milanese referred in his book that all walks of people in Spain liked glasses and that they thought wearing glasses gave a serious effect. A French lady wrote that when she was visiting Madrid that in Spain, people changed to a pair of bigger glasses when he got more money.
Up to now, the material and style of glasses changed a lot and they have become a necessity in our daily life, for utility and for elegance. From the anecdotes concerning glasses, we can see the greatness of human being. Where there is a necessity, there will be a solution, from defective to perfect.
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