header image
Home arrow Fun Facts and Trivia
Fun Facts and Trivia
Did you know…

By the 1950s, glasses were accepted as fashion accessories and came in many new shapes, sizes, colors and styles worn to match an outfit, makeup or mood as much as for visual correction. They became such an important part of fashion that Vogue magazine advised in 1958 to “Simply treat your spectacles a you would a diamond bar pin; they go with practically anything if they’re worn with dash.”

In America in the mid-sixties, it was possible to purchase very inexpensive reading glasses by mail order. Readers were assured that, to obtain the correct lens for their needs, they merely had to state their age… Thankfully, optical science has evolved somewhat since then!

The oldest known spectacles, invented about six centuries ago, had lenses ground from a smoke-colored stone known as beryl. From this name the French word bericle, which then evolved into the word besicles, the modern French word for spectacles?
The science of magnification is certainly not new. It is said that the scholar Seneca read all the books in the libraries of Rome by looking through a droplet of water for magnification.

Eyeglasses were equated with learning and the ability to read, which translated to influence and importance in the community. As they were too expensive for the masses to afford, spectacles were once seen as the domain of the rich, educated elite.

Professional men, such as physicians and lawyers, first adopted large spectacles. The Kansas City Star quoted a prominent optician of the time, saying that “they were taken up by the doctors and lawyers because the large lenses, mounted with stout tortoise-shell frames, gave an air of distinction and profundity. A lawyer who bought a pair said to the optician: "When I put these spectacles on, it will cost $ 5.00 more to talk to me".

A drawing in the Optical Journal for November 1903 shows a pair of goggles devised for show-chickens and fighting cocks to prevent them from damaging each other’s eyes! The frames were filled with mica or glass.