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The History of Glass

It's estimated that we humans have been forming things from silica for well over five thousand years. It's believed that it began, like many things, in the area we know as the middle east.

Archaeologists tell us that by 15,000BC extensive glass production was occurring in Western Asia, Crete and Egypt. By 9,000BC artisans, in what is now Syria, developed techniques for making the glass clear. Mostly it was used to create luxury items. Vases and other art pieces.

The earliest evidence of glassblowing was at a 200BC site, in Iran. Within the Roman Empire centuries later the glassblowing process was highly refined and many renowned artisans existed within the empire and elsewhere in the middle east.

In 100AD, the Romans invented the technology to use glass for windows. Many nations from the Asian continent around this time were using paper for their windows. Often houses everywhere simply had openings, and not large ones at that. In the 1300s a sort of translucent pane made from animal horn started being used in Europe.

Glass only became commonplace in windows in 1600s England. Even still, they were usually small affairs. Making glass was still tricky business.

Glass's industrial revolution started in the mid 1800s with the first continuous ribbon of glass being produced. Previously there had been a series of methods but nothing producing continuous flat glass.

Only in the 1960s did the first commercially viable perfectly flat glass come onto the market. The Pilkington Brothers in the UK developed a method to produce a continuous ribbon of glass on a molten layer of tin, float glass.