December 10, 2023


I Fall For Art

The History of Opera Glasses

For almost 100 years opera glasses existed merely as telescopes. In Vienna in 1823 the first binocular opera glasses and theater binoculars began to appear. They were two simple Galilean telescopes with a bridge in the center, each telescope focused independently from the other by extending or shortening the telescope until a desired focus was achieved, which was useful, yet very cumbersome.

The first binoculars that were made of two parallel telescopes were created in 1608 by the Dutch optician Hans Lipperhey. They had magnification capability of about three times. One year down the line, Galileo Galilee (1564-1642), the Italian philosopher and mathematician improved the telescope to a magnification of about 30 times. Johann Kepler (1571-1630) invented binoculars, which gave a much wider field of view. But, because they had two convex lenses the picture that was seen was inverted.

In about 1617 Anton Schyrle (1597-1660), inserted an extra lens and the image was re-inverted it is called a terrestrial telescope. In 1758 John Dollond of England solved the main issue that all binoculars were having at that time- color aberration. He invented a lens made from two lenses cemented together. Each lens was made from a different type of glass. This is the achromatic (color free) lens that is still in use today.

In the mid 18th century a Venetian optician named D. Salva (1710-1762) invented the bridge that connected two small Galilean telescopes. This bridge is still in use today.

A very important development occurred in the mid 19th century. An Italian gunnery officer- Ignazio Porro (1801-1875) found a way to use the Keplerian binoculars and turn the picture over using prisms. This alteration brought forth a new generation of prismatic binoculars with a wide field of vision and larger magnification possibilities rendering Galilean binoculars almost obsolete.

There are two main types of Opera Glasses: Monocular and binocular. There are 4 subgroups of binocular glasses: Lorgnette: binoculars with an extended handle, miniature (up to 3-4cm in height), unusual: such as Jealousy Glasses, that had a sideways mirror to allow discreet observation of other people and regular. Most of the production of Opera glasses was done on the European mainland: France Austria and Russia.

Today, in modern opera glasses, the design Galileo implemented in his first telescope 400 years ago is still in use today, although there have been many improvements to the design over the years. Opera glasses offer a front row view, regardless of where you seat is. Opera glasses and theater binoculars now come in many varieties. There are opera glasses with chains, with handles, and lights for reading your program discreetly during the performance. They also come in many materials, styles, and colors to fit each personality.

The group of technological innovations and analysis in optics may have later influenced two opticians, Johann Friedrich Voigtlander, an optician in Vienna, and English optician J.T. Hudson with the 1800 to create just what came into existence identified as opera glasses or theater binoculars.

Aristocrats in Europe by the 1900s settled massive amounts for opera glasses when they furthermore indicate fashion taste and affluence. At present, because the opera is certainly incredibly much still in vogue, an identical gadget nonetheless assists the same function. As the kind most likely are not as lavish as around the 1900s, a set of opera glasses remains to be desired mostly for it’s virtually acquired function featuring.