The invention of eyeglasses

Catalogue Number: 1521
The invention of eyeglasses
Category: Book
Sub-Category: Hewett collection
Author: ROSEN Edward
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1956
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Description Of Item: Bound copy of an article published in two parts in J Hist Med Allied Sci 1956; 11: 13-46 and 183-218 bound with a short overview essay from the British College of Optometrists on the invention of spectacles. Also tipped in is a photocopy of a handwritten summary of the Rosen article made by Michael Aitken
Historical Significance: Spectacles were first referred to in a sermon by Fra Giordano in 1305. The subject of who invented spectacles was first written about by Carlo Roberto Dati (1619-76) a member of the Accademia della Crusca, a scholarly society of Florence in an essay entitled 'The invention of eyeglasses, is it ancient or not; and when, where and by whom were they invented?' (see Isis. 1953 Jun;44(135-136):4-10.) The first depiction of spectacles occurs in a series of frescos dated 1352 by Tommaso da Moderna in the Chapter House of the seminary attached to the Basilica San Nicolo in Treviso, north of Venice (pictured). The British College of Optometrists essay puts the view that spectacles were improvised as the result of the work of many before the first quarter of the 13thC by Italians (rather than the Dutch or Chinese) in the Veneto region, not Pisa or Florence. The article by Rosen concludes that the inventor lived in Pisa.
Date Acquired: Dec 2010
Condition: Good
Location: Nathan Library. Hewett collection

Search the archive:

Author or Inventor:
Catalogue #
Name of Donor