It was an affront to my research. If I were a man during the time in which I write, I would have thrown down the gauntlet. I would have challenged him to a duel.
Archeologist John Layard (1850) found what appeared to be a lens on the site of Nimrud (Iraq). It was a rock crystal. Professor Giovanni Pettinato of University of Rome considered this a plausible reason why the Assyrians (3000 years ago) were so adept in astronomy.
Items of this sort were found all over archeological sites from the Middle East and Mediterranean. Polished rock crystal predates Pliny, but records show this burned holes in parchment, erased what was written in wax tablets.
|Sainted monk wearing rivet spectacles|
The reading glass was invented about 1000 AD, a precursor to the magnifying glass. From that, men could see the written word or pictures up close. But held in one hand, he must read and turn pages with the other. This becomes cumbersome and problematic.
Some say Roger Bacon invented the magnifying glass, or hand lens, in 1250. He wrote a paper on it, directing the user to place the convex side closer to the eye to see better.
Venetians are attributed to have put glass into frames where the wearer could set it on the bridge of the nose.
Hence to the riveted spectacles my critique partner poo-pooed.
|Bacon's optic specifications|
According to my research, riveted spectacles were invented prior to the invention of the printing press. Lenses were set in leather, wood, horn, and bone, then riveted together where the frames would sit on the bridge of the nose. The rivet at the center would allow the wearer to adjust the spectacles more evenly and tightly against the bridge, but with movement they'd eventually slip. Eventually, someone would add ribbon to the sides of the spectacles that would attach around the ears with the result of more secure spectacles.
So, next time you read one of my novels, and spectacles are in the narrative, please don't throw the book down. More than two or three sources are used with all my research. If something sounds outrageous, I seek more data. If I can't find more data, the historical tidbit is not used.
One can never assume anything in history. Since my novels are about a particular year in London, I cannot talk about periwigs prior to when in use. I can't have stuffed chairs, or cotton dresses before 1662.
They may have been in other countries, but after the chaos of religious infighting, it took awhile for the English to emerge out of the dark. Once their merchant ships sailed the seas to the Spiceries, once King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, everything changed. England came into a Renaissance of its own, and that is what my next novel is about, a study of science vs superstition.
For more reading on London 1660's (and one French Revolution novel), please see: http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Pym/e/B004GILIAS
Many thanks go to: http://www.optics1.com/optics_history.php and History of Spectacles / Eyeglasses by Richard D. Drewry, Jr., M.D.