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~1286   The first eyeglasses are made, apparently by a lay person in Pisa, Italy

1300     A term for eyeglasses is used for the first known time

1300     Crystal workers in Italy were forbidden to use ordinary white glass instead of crystal glass

1319     Regulations are developed to protect the glass making trade in Italy, requiring standards for materials and craftsmanship

1352     First known image of eyeglasses - A painting by Tommaso da Modina shows Cardinal Hugh of Provence wearing rivet spectacles

1475     The first illustration of spectacles in a printed work

1535     The Nuremberg, Germany spectacles maker’s guild is formed

1629     The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers is incorporated in England


-1727    London optician Edward Scarlett (Sr.) is credited with developing side arms for spectacles (he is the first to advertise them)

1752    James Ayscough invents the double-hinged temple

1756    Benjamin Martin devises Visual Glasses with a horn ring annulus to reduce the amount of light entering the eyes

~1760  Benjamin Franklin conceives of the idea of the split lens bifocal

1783    Addison Smith is awarded the first spectacles patent for double spectacles which rotated down

1783    John McAllister, Sr establishes a business in Philadelphia and in 1799 begins selling eyeglasses. He will later be recognized as the first skilled optician in the US.

1797    John Richardson invents four-lens spectacles which rotate in from the sides

1797    Dudley Adams patents a device with adjustable drop-down lenses for the variation in interpupillary distance.

1806    John McAllister, Sr. makes round Franklin bifocals for President Thomas Jefferson who designed them

1825    Robert Bate patents the innovation to add spring mechanisms to the lorgnette

1825    George Airy corrects his own astigmatism with a pair of sphero-cylindrical lenses

1827    John Issac Hawkins devises and patents the trifocal in London

1828    The McAllisters begin importing astigmatic (cylindrical) lenses importing them from Chamblant in Paris, France where they were available since 1813

1833    American Optical has its earliest beginnings when William Beecher makes coin silver spectacles in Southbridge, Ma.

1843    Beecher makes the first elastic steel wire glasses in America

1883    American Optical produces the first ophthalmic lenses in the United States

1887   Swiss ophthalmologist Dr.Adolph Eugen Fick conceives molded corneal contact lenses

1887   German artificial eye maker Frederick Muller fits a thin glass contact scleral shell to a patient who was missing a lower lid

1888   August Morck Jr. patents a bifocal cemented on the outside of the original lens

1894   The first formal school for refracting is organized in Boston - The Klein School of Optics, which later became the New England College of Optometry

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