Salvino D'Armate - Eyeglasses Inventor

Salvino D'Armate Glasses

Salvino D'Armato degli Armati of Florence (1258-1312), which means ''son of Armato'' is credited with inventing the first wearable eyeglasses around 1284 in Italy although there is some doubt to the authenticity of this claim.

Leopoldo del Migliore, in his 1684 history of Florence, wrote that the church of Santa Maria Maggiore contained a memorial honoring D'Armati featured the following inscription: Here lies Salvino degl' Armati, son of Armato of Florence, inventor of eyeglasses. May God forgive his sins. A.D. 1317. Since the church has been rebuilt several times since the 13th century, this tomb no longer exists, and some historians are suspicious of his claims.

Armati had injured his own eyes while examining light refraction. Through these experiments he discovered how to increase the appearance of subjects by viewing them through two convex glass pieces.

The earliest eyeglasses were prescribed for correction of both hyperopia (farsightedness) and presbyopia that commonly develops as a symptom of aging; the first eyeglasses to correct myopia (nearsightedness) were made in the 15th century. These early spectacles were balanced on the bridge of the nose; stems were introduced in the 17th century.