Traite de con uite de la famille

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The first known record of the existence of eyeglasses is a manuscript entitled "Traite de con uite de la famille" which, written in 1289, states that spectacles have recently been invented.

Another record appears in a sermon made by a Dominican Friar Giordano da Rivalto of Pisa. This sermon was delivered in 1305 or 1306 and reports that it has been 20 years since the discovery of the art of making spectacles and that the Friar himself met the inventor. This dates spectacles to 1285/86.

Their use spread through Europe, to become o­n sale in England in 1629.

The problem that baffled early spectacle makers was how to hold them to the face. A variety of ideas involving springs or spring principals were used to hold the spectacles to the nose and circa 1730 the use of rigid sidepieces, known as temples, was perfected by a man named Edward Scarlatt. Four hundred and fourty years from invention, glasses looked something like they do today.

Lorgnettes were popular at the turn of the century. They are a form of eyeglasses that are not attached to the face in any way. They are, instead, held up to the eyes by a handle and were suitable for infrequent use.

The pair above have a mother of pearl handle into which the lenses can be folded when not in use

Monocles were commonly used from the turn of the century to the 1940s. They were more of a fashion statement than of any significant use. The images above are: A man wearing a monocle, a monocle with gallery, a standard monocle.”

“The purpose of the gallery was to keep the lense away from the eyelashes, which were frequently irritated by brushing against it.”

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