Benjamin Franklin is credited with the invention of bifocal glasses, which he sketched for his friend George Whatley, a London merchant and pamphleteer. Franklin told Whatley he found them particularly useful at dinner in France, where he could see the food he was eating and watch the facial expressions of those seated at the table with him, which helped interpret the words being said.

In a letter dated 15 November, 1784, he wrote: "I understand French better by the help of my Spectacles."

Over 200 years later, with the same passion for complex lenses, Benjamin Whatts was founded in Sydney by two sibling optometrists to celebrate the history of eyeglasses. It is the culmination of three generations of experience in optometry and a love for fashion and design.

The collection comes to life with 22 hand-made acetate frames reminiscent of the early hand-crafted eyeglasses. These are matched with the best quality lenses available, whether single vision or multifocal. The result is in an individual pair that is designed and priced for each and everyone to fall in love with.

Celebrate the history of eyeglasses with your pair of Benjamin Whatts.


View the letters that Benjamin Franklin and George Whatley shared!