What Was the Availability of Eyeglasses Like in the Old West?

marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

What was the availability of eyeglasses like in the Old West?

Emily Downey
Mission Viejo, California

Corrective eyeglasses have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the 13th century. Benjamin Franklin is usually credited with inventing bifocals in the 1700s. Yep, they were available, often by mail order, in all but the most remote areas.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.