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I cannot distinguish a letter even of large print; but am happy in the invention of double spectacles, which serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were: If all the other defects and infirmities were as easily and cheaply remedied, it would be worth while for friends to live a good deal longer–Benjamin Franklin
Two-hundred-thirty-six years ago, on May 23, 1785, Benjamin Franklin offered a detailed description of his invention, “double spectacles,” to London optician Peter Dollond, who’d previously criticized Franklin’s idea as only good for “particular eyes.” Franklin’s response:
By M. Dollond’s saying that my double spectacles can only serve particular eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly informed of their construction. I imagine it will be found pretty generally true that the same convexity of glass through which a man sees clearly at a distance proper for reading is not the best for greater distances. I therefore had formerly two pairs of spectacles which I shifted occasionally, as in traveling I sometimes read, and often wanted to regard the prospects. Finding the change troublesome and not always sufficiently ready, I had the glasses cut and half of each kind associated in the same circle, thus–