Glass is practically everywhere – from common glass doors and windows, to the small, yet adorable glass figurines on your grandma’s shelf, to artistic houses and hotels made of glass.
How is Glass Made
Glass can be literally described as liquid sand. Extremely high temperatures (1700°C) melt the sand and all the minerals inside it and, after it cools down, we get glass.
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.
Today’s technology is able to control the glass making process and refine the end product to achieve different colours or maximum transparency.
History of Glass
Glass in the form of Obsidian has been documented to be used in prehistoric times when man started using spears.
Other evidence suggests that the first man-made glass piece was manufactured around 3000 BC. Syria, Egypt, and Mesopotamia were well-known glass-making hubs.
The first hollow glass container, on the other hand, was made in 1500 BC.
In the First Century, the Roman Empire developed the art of glassblowing. Of course, it wasn’t the refined transparent glass we have today and it was mostly in different colours.
Later, colourless glass became available not just to rich folk, but also to the common crowd. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the knowledge of the art spread across Europe and the Middle East.
In 1291, the glass furnaces in Venice were shifted to the island of Murano as it was feared that the furnaces would set the city on fire.
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.
Interesting Facts About Glass
The Portland vase is one of the most valuable art objects made of glass. It is believed to have been made in Rome around the start of the Christian era.
Glass is 100% recyclable. It can also be recycled many times over as it does not get worn out. When recycled glass is used, it helps to reduce air pollution by 20%.
New York’s Corning Museum of Glass has over 45,000 pieces of glass art and hosts the largest collection in the world.
The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can provide power to a 100-watt bulb for close to one hour.
On average, approximately 330 glass jars and bottles are used by every family in the United Kingdom each year.
France’s King Charles VI, also known as Charles the Mad, regularly hallucinated that he was made of glass and often carried iron pieces in his clothing as he thought that they would protect him.
For almost 5 centuries, China did not produce any glass. Now, it controls 34% of the global market, making it the largest producer of glass in the world.
Brown glass is mostly used to contain food and drinks as ultra-violet rays are reflected by the amber tint, preventing foods and beverages from getting spoiled.
Around 30 BC, an important instrument still used in glass-making, the blowpipe, was invented.
It takes more than 1 million years for glass to decompose inside dumps and landfills.
The glass container industry is worth more than $5 billion.
When glass breaks, the cracks move at the speed of about 3000mph.
Glass can be dissolved with hydrofluoric acid.
When sound waves hit thin-glass goblets, they vibrate due to a phenomenon known as resonance.