The American Optician

Summer 2017

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2 1 T h e S p e c t a c l e o f B e n j a m i n F r a n k l i n Franklin's original bifocal segment design is still available and worn today. B y B l a i r W o n g Throughout history, there have been those rare individuals whose dedication to solving the riddles of our physical world has made the lives of all future generations more productive and enjoyable. For the myriad of his discoveries and inventions, and for his contributions to the world as a philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, along with the likes of DaVinci, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton and Einstein, is considered one of the world's greatest thinkers. "EARLY TO BED, EARLY TO RISE, MAKES A MAN HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE." The youngest of 15 children, Ben Franklin was born in Boston on Jan. 17, 1706. He died in 1790, and his 84 years of life were almost twice the normal life expectancy of the time. As a young man, Franklin's interest was in business. He was fascinated by the challenges and rewards of becoming a successful merchant and trading businessman. Most of Franklin's inventions and discoveries were made after his retirement . A worldly thinker during his lifetime, he was considered a philosopher, scientist, inventor, diplomat and politician. Franklin's intense curiosity and determination to solve the riddles of the physical world led to his contributions in devising the fundamental strategy for population demographic analysis, meteorology, astronomy, transcontinental ocean navigation, heating and ventilation, harnessing electricity and optics. "WHEN YOU'RE FINISHED CHANGING, YOU'RE FINISHED." As eye health professionals and especially as opticians, we all share a special connection to Franklin for his invention of the "double spectacle," otherwise known as the bifocal. Once he encountered presbyopia and realized the need for corrective prescription eyeglasses for near and far, he also realized the hassle of changing eyeglasses whenever switching his gaze. Franklin always took an analytical approach toward improving something. By enhancing and re-adapting any design, he would seek to creatively make life more productive

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