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History of Glass

The history of glassmaking can be traced back to ancient Egyptians around 3500 BC.

Glass was a luxury material, and the production of glass was a closely guarded technological secret reserved for the large palace industries of powerful states.

By the 15th century BC, extensive glass production was occurring in Western Asia, Crete, Egypt, and Greece.

The earliest glass vessels were 'core-formed', produced by winding a ductile rope of heated glass round a shaped core of sand and clay over a metal rod, then fusing it with repeated reheating. The first glassmaking "manual" dates back to 650 BC.

During the Greek Hellenistic period, many new techniques of glass production were introduced and glass began to be used to make larger pieces, notably table wares.

Roman Glass production, however, used a white silica sand for the production of glass within the Roman Empire, due to its high purity levels. 

During the 1st century BC, Glass Blowing was discovered on the Syro-Judean coast, revolutionizing the industry. 

Glass vessels were now inexpensive compared to pottery vessels. A growth of the use of glass products occurred throughout the Roman world.

Cast glass windows, even though with poor optical qualities, began to appear in the most important buildings in Rome and the most luxurious villas of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Over the next 1,000 years, glass making and working continued and spread through Southern Europe and beyond.

By the end of the 1st century AD, large scale manufacturing, primarily in Alexandria, resulted in the establishment of glass as a commonly available material in the Roman world.

The Roman tradition of very fine glassmaking did not continue in the Middle Ages.

Only at the end of the period did European glass vessels once again become very fine in quality.

By the 11th century, clear glass mirrors were being produced in Spain.

The center for luxury Italian Venetian glassmaking from the 14th century, was the island of Murano, which developed many new techniques and became the center of a lucrative export trade in Dinnerware, Mirrors and other items.

The use of glass as a building material, was heralded by 'The Crystal Palace' of 1851, to house the 'Great Exhibition' in London.

This revolutionary new building inspired the public use of glass as a material for architecture.


The rest of the story,  is Glass history ...


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