It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!
For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.
Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter S ~ Spectacles
I tried to thread a needle the other day and found the whole experience maddening. Somewhere in my 40s I started to lose the ability to see things up close. I’m in my 50s now. Forget threading a needle, removing a splinter or a tick, sewing on a button or reading the instructions for taking medicines. Yes I wear bifocals but having them for the past two years seems to have made my vision worse. In fact, I even spill things on my shirt front when I try to eat with a fork or spoon! Like I said, maddening. I’m told stashing magnifying reading glasses in every room of the house is the way to go. Perhaps so.
If fading eyesight is part of the human condition, then it’s undoubtedly been on peoples’ minds a long time. The earliest complaint like mine was found in a letter from approximately 100 B.C.E. where a well-to-do Roman laments no longer being able to read for himself, and now must rely on his slaves to read to him. Not an option for me. It’s said the Roman philosopher, Seneca, peered through a glass globe of water to magnify the books he read. But this would mean the text would appear upside-down. The result of a curious thing called refraction. (Unrelated side bar: Medieval tapestries were sewn with the stitches viewed through a globe of water. Their finely threaded designs created upside-down to the viewer.)
The oldest known lens was found in the ruins of ancient Nineveh, an ancient Mesopotamian city on the bank of the Tigris River (now an Iraqi site). The lens was made of polished quartz crystal 1 1/2 inches in diameter. There is no proof it was used for enhancing vision, but there is historical mention of lenses of this sort being used to start fires and cauterize wounds with magnified sunlight. It’s interesting to note the Chinese developed spectacles approximately 2000 years ago, but used them as eye protection and not reading.
The first magnifying glass appears around 1000 A.D. This was a monk’s reading stone. This initial reading aid was nothing more than a segment of a glass sphere laid on top of the page to magnify the print. The Venetians, glass artisans extraordinaire, mastered production of glass reading stones sometime in the 1200s and later constructed lenses in frames that were used in front of the eyes instead of on the written page. And spectacles were born. A monk of Pisa stated in his sermon in 1306, It is not yet twenty years since the art of making spectacles, one of the most useful arts on earth, was discovered. I, myself, have seen and conversed with the man who made them first. Though no one knows the name of this inventor, it seems likely that vision-correcting eye wear was simply a series of small steps. The journey was far from over.
The framed Venetian lenses sat on the bridge of the nose but were ungainly for a head bent over a book. After awkwardly enhancing poor eyesight for more than 300 years, someone said enough was enough and came up with the idea they might stay on the nose if silk loops went over the ears. One hundred years later, a London optician invented rigid sidepieces in 1730. These rested atop the ears like they do today. Since then, eye wear continues to evolve and we have many options available to us. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
1940s Glasses & Spectacles Educational Documentary
How It’s Made – Eyeglass Lenses (the other items shown are interesting too)
Benjamin Franklin’s eyeglasses invention
History of corrective lenses
Tomorrow ~ letter T!
My Other Happenings~
Weekend Writing Warriors
There’s still time to enjoy my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
My Sexy Saturday
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