Little is known about the first attempts to make glass. However, it is generally believed that glassmaking was discovered 4,000 years ago, or more, in Mesopotamia.
Scholars believe that the ability to make glass developed over a long period of time from experiments with a mixture of silica-sand or ground quartz pebbles – and an alkali. Other high heat industries, including ceramics and metalworking, could have inspired early glassmakers. Perhaps the development of glass began with potters firing their wares. Click more to see more glass facts.
1. Before man figured out how to craft glass, nature was already making it. When lightning strikes sand, the heat sometimes fuses the sand into long, slender glass tubes called fulgurites. The intense heat of a volcanic eruption sometimes fuses rocks and sand into a glass called obsidian. In early times, people shaped obsidian into knives, arrowheads, jewelry, and money.
2. Around 3,000 B.C. is when we find the first real evidence of manufactured glass by people. The Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria were hubs of glassmaking. But you can thank an ancient Roman for the fact for glass in your everyday life. Because of their empire-making ways, Romans spread a more modern glass manufacturing knowledge to its newly conquered lands.
3. Glass is made of super-cooled liquid. The molecules are just moving very, very slowly
4. The blowpipe was invented about 30 B.C. and was probably created along the Mediterranean coast
5. Glass was believed to be first manufactured in the form of glaze on ceramics, around roughly 3000 B.C.
6. Glass never wears out, meaning it can be recycled over and over again
7. Fiberglass is made from the same substances as normal glass. It’s heated and pulled into threads. The threads are then woven together to make fiberglass
8. Glass is made from readily-available domestic materials, such as sand, soda ash, limestone and “cullet,” the industry term for furnace-ready recycled glass.
9. Many glass making terms have entered the language: ‘Shut yer gob’: a molten lump of glass is called a ‘gob’ to which the glass blower attached a tube to blow the glass into shape. The blower had to blow hard which made his cheeks very large. Today someone with a big mouth is told they have a big gob.
10. Glass is not just manufactured, but can also exist in nature. It can be found inside volcanoes in the form of the natural stone Obsidian.
11. By the 17th century, ordinary people in Europe could afford to use glass for their windows. This resulted in an improvement in their quality of life as it allowed them to lead a more hygienic and disease-free existence.