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A Peek On The History of Opera Glasses

Operas and theaters have always been a part of many societies as one of the many forms of arts that can give immense pleasure to the soul while being watched. Not only did they have impact on different cultures but they had also been an economic status indicator in the past. During its early times, operas and theaters have been a trend for the rich and elite class of the society. And it was also during these early periods that people of this time came up with an invention that made these performing arts even more enjoyable. These are known as opera glasses and they are still being used even nowadays. The idea of these theater glasses did not come from scratch, but rather, a modification of Galilean telescope. Thus, its history can be rooted from where binoculars and telescopes began. The first binocular was invented in 1608 by a Dutch optician, Hans Lipperhey. It was made of two telescopes with the capability to magnify objects up to 3x of its original size. After almost a year, an Italian philosopher and mathematician by the name Galileo Galilee developed a telescope that has a magnification of X30. More and more developments took place as people continued to improve this invention. Johann Kepler had created his version of telescopes with a wider field of view. Unfortunately, because of the two convex lenses used, the objects that would be seen through this telescope would become inverted. It was Anton Schyrle in 1617 who resolved the problem by inserting an extra lens to re-invert the image. Opera binoculars became widely known during the 1800s and even became a status symbol among theater-goers. They became the way for the rich class to prove and show how wealthy they were. Though they became popular only in 1800s, London advertisement had revealed that these theatrical glasses actually started to be used since 1730. However, they were designed as monocular and regarded as a small Galilean telescope. It was only after a hundred years that the first binocular opera glasses were invented in Vienna in 1823. They were like two Galilean telescopes connected with a bridge. The two lenses therefore had focus independent of each other and can be adjusted by lengthening or shortening the telescope. About two years later, Pierre Lemiere of Paris, improved the design. He created a center drive allowing the two lenses to be focused together. After his improvements, these binoculars became even more popular and can still be found being used today and are now available in varying designs and styles.