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The History of Glasses

The History of Glasses


Glasses are now an everyday norm, not only for practical, obvious reasons, to improve our vision but also worn as fashion accessories or to protect our eyes from the sun. However, glasses are a luxury we take for granted.



The first-ever inventor to wear and use glasses is unknown. However, the Romans are first recognised as discovering the ability to use glass to enhance their ability to see and read by creating a small magnifying glass.



The first wearable pair of glasses, however, dates back to the 13th Century in Murano Italy. This small island is to the north of Venice and home to Murano glassworks. Glasses were made by using primitive glass-blown lenses set into leather or wooden frames. When first worn, these spectacles were held in front of the eyes or perched on the nose before glasses arms were developed. These frames were mainly purchased by monks until they grew in popularity throughout the renaissance period. At this point in time, the Murano glass-blowers were the only existing artisans who had the expertise to manufacture glass to produce visual aids. Because of this, the glassblowers were forbidden to leave the Island in case they spread their top-secret knowledge with outsiders. If anyone was caught violating these rules they could be sentenced to death!



The rest of Europe however soon discovered this Italian creation, which was becoming more and more advanced. Glass blowers would make lenses of different thickness and test them to improve different vision needs - essentially the first optical lens manufacturers.



Glasses suddenly became a symbol of status, wealth, intelligence and prosperity throughout Europe. However, it wasn’t until the 1700s that glasses became ‘hands-free’ and the arm was developed in more diverse materials such as leather, tortoiseshell, horn, whalebone, iron, silver and bronze.



Essentially the 18th Century created the glasses we see through and wear today. New styles were invented including the ‘ear glasses’ or ‘temple glasses’ which featured a ‘hook’ arm to keep the glasses firmly in place, although not as comfortable to wear. Bifocal lenses were also created in the 18th Century by Benjamin Franklin and together with varifocals, we’re still wearing them today.



Today we have the most advanced optical technology constantly researched and reinvented through advanced lens manufacturers like Nikon and Essilor. These are two of the brands which we stock at Fashion Eyewear. Today glasses may not be a symbol of wealth or intelligence but glasses can reflect your personal style. We have over 45 brands which you can choose from to make sure you feel good in your frames whether sun or optical. At Fashion Eyewearwe don’t have glassblowers creating your lenses but we do have an inhouse optical team working on glazing your lenses for either your prescription frames or your sunglasses. It is so easy to get your hands on the latest frames with your prescription added by the click of a button on our website. All you need to do is give us your prescription and measure your PD which you can do online from the comfort of your own home. We will then deliver your new frames straight to your door.



It is much easier to get new prescription glasses in 2020, just shop Fashion Eyewear.









Fashion Eyewear is an online optician, therefore you can add your prescription to any of our eyewear whether they are a pair of sunglasses or optical. Simply shop our prescription sunglasses selection or glasses on our website. Choose your favourite frames and click ‘add prescription’. Our simple step by step check out will help guide you through our lens packages, brands and choices. We have every lens type available to fit your needs, whether you need single vision, varifocal, distance or for driving. We also have the best lens brands for you to choose from Essilor, Nikon, Maui Jim, Ray-Ban, Oakley and our own Fashion Eyewear standard packages. After choosing your coatings, add your prescription and use our Fashion Eyewear Pupillary Distance Metre to measure your PD.



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