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A Clear Look at the History of Glass: Part 1

Here at Florida State Glass and Mirror, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Mesopotamians. Without their ingenuity, which gave us not only glass but also the first form of writing and the wheel among many other things, we would not be able to offer you our beautiful clear glass shower enclosures or frameless glass balcony railings

We don’t know exactly how the Mesopotamians managed to develop a method for making glass, but we are awfully glad they did! 

The Early Chapters in the History of Glass

While many questions remain about the introduction of glass, Historians think that the discovery was first made about 4,000 years ago – maybe more – in Mesopotamia! “Scholars believe that the ability to make glass developed over a long period of time from experiments with a mixture of silica-sand or ground quartz pebbles – and an alkali,” the experts at the Corning Museum of Glass tell us. 

“Other high heat industries, including ceramics and metalworking, could have inspired early glassmakers. Perhaps the development of glass began with potters firing their wares. Could the first glass have been colorful, hard, shiny decoration fused to a clay pot’s surface in the heat of the furnace? No one knows,” they say.

What we do know is that Pliny the Elder, a Roman military commander, author and philosopher who died in 79 AD, got it wrong. He credited the Phoenicians with the discovery of glass. The Phoenicians may have been superb sailors, who came up with a set of letters that would eventually become the alphabet we use today, but they were not the first to make glass, as Pliny would have us believe.

According to the Corning Museum of Glass, Pliny said that Phoenician sailors accidentally discovered glass when they made a cooking fire on the beach. “Though this is an interesting explanation, this scenario is not possible since a cooking fire cannot reach the melting temperature of glass, and the story most likely involved Ptolemais because its beach sand was historically known to be heavily used for glassmaking,” they say.

It may not seem like much compared to the ancient Mesopotamians and Phoenicians, but here at Florida State Glass and Mirror, we are very proud of our history as a family-owned and operated business with more than 20 years of experience working with high-quality glass products, including glass shower panels and glass railings.