History of Glass
Archaeological findings indicate that glass was first made in
the Middle East, sometime in the 3000's B.C. In the beginning,
glass manufacturing was slow and costly. Glass melting furnaces
were very small and were not able to produce enough heat to melt
glass properly. In ancient times, glass was a luxury item and only
few people could afford it.
An unknown person discovered the blowpipe in the 1st century
B.C. on the Phoenician coast. Glass manufacturing flourished
Roman Empire and spread from Italy to all countries under Roman
jurisdiction. Due to the mass production, glass become an usual
object and was removed from the list of luxuries.
By the time of the Crusades, glass manufacture had been revived
in Venice as a result of good contacts with Byzantium . Equipment
was transferred to the Venetian island of Murano , where Soda Lime
glass, better known as "Cristallo" was developed. Venetian glass-blowers
created some of the most delicate and graceful glass the world
has ever seen. Despite their efforts to keep the technology secret,
it soon spread around Europe.
After 1890, glass applications and manufacturing developments
increased so rapidly as to be almost revolutionary. The science
of glass as a material was much better understood, and in the
late 1950's Sir Alastair Pilkington introduced a new revolutionary
method (float glass production), by which 90% of flat glass is
still manufactured today by this method.