When Were Spectacles Patented? Unravel The Story Behind This Revolutionary Invention

Spectacles, or eyeglasses, are one of the most common and useful inventions in human history.

They help millions of people see better, read easier, and enjoy the beauty of the world.

But do you know when were spectacles patented? And who invented them?

In this article, I will reveal the fascinating history of eyeglasses, from the ancient times to the modern era.

When Were Spectacles Patented?Courtesy:flipkart
When Were Spectacles Patented?

The First Spectacles: A Mystery from the Middle Ages

The exact date and inventor of the first spectacles are still a mystery.

Some historians believe that spectacles were invented in China around the 5th century, while others claim that they were invented in India around the 6th century.

However, the most widely accepted theory is that spectacles were invented in Italy in the late 13th century.

The first spectacles consisted of two convex lenses mounted in a wooden or metal frame, with a rivet that allowed them to slide over the nose.

The lenses were made of clear quartz or beryl, and they magnified objects for people who had trouble seeing up close, such as monks and scribes.

The first spectacles were very rare and expensive, and only a few people could afford them.

The Evolution of Spectacles: From Monks to Monarchs

Spectacles gradually became more popular and accessible in the following centuries, as the demand for reading and writing increased.

The invention of the printing press in the mid-15th century also boosted the production and distribution of books, newspapers, and other printed materials.

Spectacles were improved in design, quality, and variety, and they were worn by many influential people, such as artists, scientists, philosophers, and rulers.

For example, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington all wore spectacles.

Some of them even experimented with different types of lenses, such as bifocals, trifocals, and tinted glasses.

Spectacles also became a symbol of status, intelligence, and fashion, and they were decorated with gold, silver, jewels, and other ornaments.

The Innovation of Spectacles: From Glass to Plastic

The modern era of spectacles began in the 19th and 20th centuries, when new materials, technologies, and inventions transformed the eyewear industry.

Glass lenses were replaced by plastic lenses, which were lighter, thinner, and more durable. Plastic frames were also introduced, which offered more flexibility, comfort, and style.

Spectacles were also adapted to correct different types of vision problems, such as astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia.

Moreover, spectacles were enhanced with various features, such as anti-reflective coating, UV protection, polarization, and photochromism.

Spectacles also became more affordable and available, thanks to mass production and online shopping.

The Development of Spectacles in the Modern Era

Spectacles continued to evolve and improve over the centuries, thanks to the advances in science, technology, and art. Some of the most notable developments include:

  • The invention of bifocal lenses by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, which combined two different powers of lenses in one frame, allowing people to see both near and far.
  • The invention of rimless spectacles by Reginald Henry Bradshaw in the early 20th century, which offered better visibility and durability.
  • The invention of tinted lenses by Edward H. Land in the mid-20th century, which reduced glare and enhanced contrast.
  • The invention of contact lenses by Otto Wichterle in the mid-20th century, which eliminated the need for frames and offered more comfort and convenience.
  • The invention of laser eye surgery by Rangaswamy Srinivasan in the late 20th century, which corrected refractive errors by reshaping the cornea.
  • The invention of smart glasses by Mark B. Spitzer in the late 20th century, which integrated a computer interface and a camera into the lenses, providing enhanced vision and information.


Spectacles are a wonderful invention that have changed the world and the way we see it. They have a long and fascinating history, from the Middle Ages to the present day.There is no clear news of who patented spectacles even though they are worn by everyone from around the world

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