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Glass making history

Dating back to the stone age, organic sources of glass such as obsidian (the black volcanic glass) and tektites to craft weapons and decorative objects.

The first manufactured glass has been linked back to 3000BC as a result of archaeological discoveries in Egypt and Eastern Mesopotamia. Of the oldest slivers of glass vases had been found in Mesopotamia in the sixteenth century BC and represent the evidence of the origins from the hollow glass industry. Other than Mesopotamia, the production of hollow glass was evolving simultaneously in China, Egypt, Greece and North Tyrol. One of the first recorded manuals for glass making from the library of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal (669-626 BC) dating back to roughly 650BC.

To begin with, the process of manufacturing glass was a lengthy and costly, considered a luxury which meant only few could afford it. Upon the discovery of the new technique of ‘glass blowing’ approximately at the end of the first century, it was considered a revolutionary event in the history of glass blowing. Not only was it a revolutionary but it essentially made the production quicker, simpler and more importantly, cheaper thus meaning glass now became available to ordinary citizens. The techniques linked with glass blowing have changed little over the centuries, many of the tools also being used in this day and age.

The Romans were the first to introduce glass into architecture when clear glass was discovered in Alexandria around AD 100.

The glass industry was flourishing and continuing its development through Europe towards the end of the thirteenth century when the glass industry was established in Venice by the time of the Crusades (AD 1096-1270).

By the time of the late 1400’s and early 1500’s northern European countries glassmaking became quite important, and progressed onto England.

The inventor of lead glass, George Ravenscroft, an English glassmaker lead to a major breakthrough in the history of glass. Flat glass was introduced through a float glass production by Sir Alastair Pilkington.

The increase of glass development and manufacture increased a fair amount and has evolved since through advancing technologies and the evolution will continue.

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