branch of study: optics
inventor: west european monks as accounted by Ibn Al Haitham, around 1240
A Reading Stone is a thick plano-convex lens and can be considered to be the prototype of modern magnifying glasses. It was and still is put to use to magnify minute writings.
Belting, Hans (2008): Florenz und Bagdad. Eine westöstliche Geschichte des Blicks. München: Beck.