The magnifying glass as we know it has been around for hundreds of years, but early versions of it have been around for thousands. The ancient Egyptians looked through shards of crystal and obsidian to get a clearer view of close-up objects. In Rome, Emperor Nero looked through a gemstone in order to get a better view of actors on stage. The modern magnifying glass was invented by Roger Bacon, a lecturer at the University of Oxford who conducted many experiments with lenses and mirrors. He drew on his findings as well as information published by Muslim scientists in order to create the first magnifying glass. The date of his invention is unknown, but it’s thought that Bacon invented the magnifying glass sometime in the 1250s. By 1268, the magnifying lens had been adapted for use as primitive vision correction. While the magnifying glass is a simple device, it has had a massive impact in many areas. In fact, many innovations owe a debt to the humble magnifying glass, including eyeglasses and the compound microscope.