Transformations of Glass through the Ages
In ancient times, glass making was extremely difficult and believed to have begun as early as 3500 B.C. in Mesopotamia or Egypt. It was done by hand and considered to be a lengthy and hazardous process. The first glass objects to be made were beads, and considered a luxury material. A Pharaoh would trade glass as a show of status with foreign leaders to impress them. The Egyptians are thought to have created the first colored glass by accident. Much later in the 8th century it was found, by a chemist, that the metal oxides were the main components in the coloring of glass.
Sadly, after the Late Bronze Age, glass bongs making stopped until the 1st century B.C. at which time glass making instructions were found in Syria. Syrians were also the first to invent the blowpipe and so began a more modern technique of glassblowing. Before that, glass would have to be molded together slowly with many small expensive pieces. With a blowpipe, the method allowed glass to be molded by blowing into it while it was still warm. The manufacturing became more extensive and inexpensive. However, once again glass forming would be lost Europe during the Dark Ages, leaving on the Middle East to continue the custom.
With the start of the Middle Ages, the Middle East traded the shrouded craft to Italy, who in turn displaced their own glass makers to the islands of Muarano. The glassblower’s expertise were held so sacred that if any one of them left to teach the skills to foreign lands it was considered an unforgivable offense and they could be sentenced to death. However, once they accomplished new brilliant colors and methods, many did escape and taught their artistry over nearly all of Europe and some parts of Asia.
One of the first glass arts came in the form of stained glass. Requested by religious organizations to have as windows in their churches and other places of worship. The glass maker would have to use many bits of colored glass and cut them into shapes. Then placing them perfectly fit together so the windows may tell a story or offer images of Holy figures.
In 1608 glass came to America by way of the Jamestown settlers. A few hired Polish descendants were on boards with their main purpose to be creating glass in the new land. Not only did they construct a furnace, they started producing glass products which in now considered to be the first factory in the new world. The settlers generated enough glass and additional commodities, they shipped it back to England as the first exports to the from America.