The very first glass known to Stone Age people was used for making weapons and decorative objects, these items were made from black volcanic glass. The earliest known man made glass dates back to around 3500BC, with finds in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Discovery of glassblowing around 1st century BC was and still is a major breakthrough in glass making, over the last century glass blowing has grown ever popular with classes and retreats up and down the country and in Europe!
From our earliest origins, man has been making use of glass most historians will agree that one of the earliest forms of natural glass was formed within the mouth of a volcano, due to the heat melting the sand. Archaeologists have found evidence of man-made glass which dates back to 4000 BC; this took the form of stone beads. It was not until later that the first hollow glass container was made by covering a sand core with a layer of molten glass – hence the volcanos.
Glass blowing became common practise in the first century BC, back then most of the glass was highly discoloured due to all of the impurities of the raw material that was used. Colourless glass came later in the same century when they found ways to purify the resources before heating.
It’s no secret that glass making came to Britain from the Romans, the skills and technology required to make glass were closely guarded by the Romans, as they didn’t want everyone to know their secret! They were very well known at the time for spreading glass throughout Europe. When the First World War came around Britain became completely cut off from essential glass suppliers, only then did they realise just how much they used glass in everyday life. After this point Britain took glass making more seriously and began to set up more factories in Suffolk and Surrey.
Coming into the 21st century, more and more people are concerned for the environment, with the growing depletion on the ozone layer, glass has come into its own as it is ideal to recycling. They are able to melt the used glass and reuse it again and again.
The Future of Glass
Well with the invention of Google Glass, glass is becoming more and more relied upon within the modern world. The possibilities are endless, with companies like Corning working round the clock on glass TV screen, tablets, phones, windows – everything basically!
In theory, at least, using glass for the screens of mobile devices seems like a very bad idea – how many people do you know that have broken their phone screens? The glass is heavy and regular wear and tear means whatever you’re looking at will quickly become obscured by a mass of criss-crossing scratches! So it is hardly very surprising that many manufacturers opt for lighter, cheaper and more flexible plastic screens instead.
Few of us can imagine modern life without glass, I certainly can’t! It is everywhere we go, to work, to home, our phones, our food packaging, our drinks – not to mention the medicines and cosmetics that it encases but the glass awards and trophy’s that are presented all over the world every year. Where would we be without it? Luckily this is not something we have to picture, in fact due to the reduction of oil amounts more and more pressure is being put upon glass recycling for the future.