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History of the European Glass Industry

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Yeon, Haram
Term Paper, AP European History Class, November 2010

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. The Invention of Glass
II.1 The First Production of Glass
II.1.1 The First Artificial Glass
II.1.2 Production Method
II.2 The Glass Trade in the Ancient World and Egyptian Glass
II.3 Glass Blowing and Its Technical Impact
II.4 Rome in Glass Production
III. Glass Production in the Middle Ages
III.1 New Techniques and Functions of Glass
III.1.1 Stained Glass
III.1.2 Sheet Glass
III.2 Venetian Glass
III.2.1 From Rome to the Venetian Republic
III.2.2 Venice as World Power and Production Center
III.2.3 Artisans and Murano Glass
IV. The Industrial Revolution and the Mass Production of Glass
IV.1 Lead Crystal
IV.2 Innovations and Increase in Production
IV.2.1 Friedrich Siemens and the New Furnace
IV.2.2 Otto Schott and Ernst Abbe
IV.3 Automation of Production and the Glass 'Industry'
V. Modern Innovations
V.1 Modern Flat Glass Technology
V.2 Art Nouveau and Glass Design
V.3 Glass Architecture
V.4 Recent Uses of Glass: Fiberglass and GRP
VI. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            Glass is one of the oldest manmade substances ever used by mankind, used constantly and for various ends. In Europe, as in most other regions, glass has been an important part of people's lives; naturally, the European history of glass has been affected by some of the most important changes in European history in general. This paper will attempt to analyze the development of glass production from naturally formed glass beads to modern glass during the times of the industrial revolution and modern ages, and then to find important connections between the history of glass industry and that of European civilization in general.

II. The Invention of Glass

II.1 The First Production of Glass
            'Glass production,' taken literally, began even before the beginning of human civilization. 'Natural glass' is produced whenever glass-forming rocks melt under high temperature and then solidify quickly. This happens when volcanoes erupt, when lightning strikes into quartziferous sand or when meteorites hit the surface of the earth (1). Such naturally occurring glass, especially the volcanic glass obsidian, has been used by many Stone Age societies across the globe for the production of sharp cutting tools and, due to its limited source areas, was extensively traded (2). Artificial glass, on the other hand, came only when civilizations began to form.

II.1.1 The First Artificial Glass
            Nobody knows exactly when glass was first made artificially by man. The oldest finds - greenish glass beads - date back to 3500 BC (3). The first glass was probably developed in the Mitannian or Hurrian region of Mesopotamia as an extension to the use of glazes or faience production. The first objects that involved the use of glass in their production were beads, plaques, inlays, and eventually small vessels. The Mesopotamian civilization that emerged in the region gave a boost to the development of glass, and because they developed a written language (cuneiform) we have a record of the way in which they used it, and their attitudes to it. Glass was seen as a material that could be made to imitate semi-precious stones. It became a material whose value derived from these associations, being accorded a status equal to that of the precious materials it imitated (4).
            On the other hand, indigenous development of glass technology in South Asia may have begun in 1730 BC. Evidence of this culture includes a red-brown glass bead along with a hoard of beads dating to that period, making it the earliest attested glass from the Indus Valley locations (5). According to the ancient-Roman historian Pliny (AD 23-79), Phoenician merchants transporting stone actually discovered glass (or rather became aware of its existence accidentally) in the region of Syria around 5000 BC. Pliny tells how the merchants, after landing, rested cooking pots on blocks of nitrate placed by their fire. With the intense heat of the fire, the blocks eventually melted and mixed with the sand of the beach to form an opaque liquid (6). This account is more a reflection of Roman experience of glass production, however, as white silica sand from this area was used in the production of glass within the Roman Empire due to its low impurity levels (7).

II.1.2 Production Method
            The sophisticated technology needed to sustain glass manufacture derives from a variety of allied material technologies, predominantly ceramic and metal. These are needed to provide heat sources, tools, furnaces, and material science, and as such need to pre-date the use of glass within a society. Glass, therefore, does not usually emerge until a culture is well established (8). It is possible to follow glass back to a supposed source in the Bronze Age, about 3000 BC. It seems unlikely that it could have developed much before this, because of its requirements in technological terms. Glass was a synthetic; this in itself was a sophisticated concept for a culture that was used to using materials that were already in existence, wood, bone, and stone or refining or altering naturally occurring substances, metal and clay. Glass in contrast, was the result of combining a mixture through heat (9).
            Ancient glass manufacture is believed to be closely related to pottery making, which flourished in Upper Egypt about 8000 BC. While firing pottery, the coincidental presence of calciferous sand combined with soda and the overheating of the pottery kiln may have resulted in a colored glaze on the ceramics. Other theories consider glass to be a by-product of bronze smelting (10). In whichever case, the emergence of glass as a synthesized material in its own right must have been a long and experimental process (11).

II.2 The Glass Trade in the Ancient World and Egyptian Glass
            Archaeological evidence suggest that Mesopotamia would be the origin of glass production. Yet, because of Egypt's favorable environment for preservation, the majority of well-studied early glass is found there (12). After first developed in Mesopotamia, knowledge of glass making was transmitted through trade and dynastic alliances to Egypt where it took root and developed in ways that continued the path established for material by the Mesopotamians (13). Around 3000 BC, Egyptian glassmakers systematically began making pieces of jewelry and small vessels (14).
            The revival in glass occurred in Egypt and gradually saw glass production move to new centres, many of which subtly introduced local variations of the established processes while adding some new ones. A major change was a shift in emphasis toward clear glass, particularly the Persian cast bowls, but also the single colour slumped vessels produced in Syrian workshops. This move toward clear and translucent coloured glass was as much to do with a shift of viewpoint as with any improvement in technology (15).Thus, Egyptian glass production represents an important shift and improvement in the entire history of glass production as a whole.

II.3 Glass Blowing and Its Technical Impact
            Different sources offer slightly differing dates for the first use of blowing as a glassmaking technology, ranging from 200 BC (16) to 50 BC (17) or even between 27 BC and AD 14 (18). Yet, all of them agree that the discovery of glass blowing was 'a major breakthrough in glassmaking,' 'attributed to Syrian craftsmen from the Sidon-Babylon area (19).'
            The glassblowing pipe is made from an iron tube about 100 to 150 cm long with an opening about 1cm in diameter. It has an insulated handle with a mouthpiece at one end and a button-like extension at the other end. The glassmaker uses it to get a gob of molten glass from the furnace and blows it into a hollow body. The blowing of glass with a pipe enabled not only simple, round vessels to be made, but also thin-walled, fine glasses in a large variety of shapes. Using a wooden mold allowed the blowing of glass products in a standardized form and their duplication (20). This was truly a revolution in the history of glass; glass vessels were now inexpensive compared to pottery vessels (21). It led not only to a new style of glass but also to a great increase in production, so that from being a luxury product glass became for the first time a common everyday article - which it was not to be again until the nineteenth century (22).

II.4 Rome in Glass Production
            If glass blowing provided the technical foundations for the popular use of glass in Europe, it was the Romans that actually made it a common material. The conquest of Judaea by the Romans in 63 BC paved the way for the growth of the use of glass products that occurred throughout the Roman world. Glass became the Roman plastic, and glass containers produced in Judaea and by the Jewish population in Alexandria spread throughout the Roman Empire (23). The first glass-works there were said to have been near the Flaminian Circus. It is highly probable that these workmen were imported from Egypt. The use of glass seems rapidly to have increased, and to have become very common, for we find an emperor in the third century of the Christian era saying, that he was disgusted with so low and vulgar an object as glass, and that he would only drink from vessels of gold (24).
            The well-developed trade relations among the peoples of the Roman Empire, its highway and transport networks, and a Roman administration conducive to economic progress, were ideal prerequisites for the quick spread of the new invention and the art of glassmaking. In all parts of the Empire, from Mesopotamia to the British Isles, from the Iberian Peninsula to the Rhine, glassworks were founded (25). Roman glass has even been found as far afield as China, shipped there along the silk routes (26).
            The Romans contributed equally greatly to the manufacturing technology and general uses of glass production. In Alexandria around AD 100, the introduction of manganese oxide into the glass composition combined with improved furnaces resulted in the first successful attempt to make colorless glass (27). Thus, Romans began the tradition of using glass as a part of architecture; cast glass windows, albeit with poor optical qualities, began to appear in the most important buildings in Rome and the most luxurious villas of Herculaneum and Pompeii (28).
            The Romans afforded a remarkable improvement in the development of glass technology; yet, their greater legacy was that they spread the technology throughout Europe, especially to Germany, and that they laid a foundation for Venetian glass, which developed glass production to a much higher level.

III. Glass Production in the Middle Ages

III.1 New Techniques and Functions of Glass

III.1.1 Stained Glass
            While glass began to be used for windows in Roman times, it was during the Medieval Ages that colored and painted glass - stained glass - was widely used for religious buildings. Some of the earliest known examples of coloured window glass, datable to c. 800-820, were recovered in excavations at the Abbey of San Vicenzo in Volturno, Italy. However it was not until the advent of the monumental cathedral and church building campaigns in the 11th and 12th centuries that the demand for coloured glass began to increase significantly, reaching its highest level in the 14th and 15th centuries. The oldest surviving stained glass windows still in situ are thought to be the Prophet Windows in Augsburg Cathedral, of c.1065 (29).
            The decisive quality of stained glass, of course, is their color. There was a wide array of techniques used by middle age artisans to color glass, from using the inherent color from the impurity of glass materials or adding colourants such as copper to add artificial color to using paint and silver stain on glass. These techniques are explained in detail in De Diversis Artibus of Theophilus Presbyter and Eraclius's De coloribus et artibus Romanorum (30). Stained glass windows reached their peak as the Middle Ages drew to a close, with an increasing number of public buildings, inns and the homes of the wealthy fitted with clear or coloured glass decorated with historical scenes and coats of arms (31).

III.1.2 Sheet Glass
            The 11th century also saw the development by German glass craftsmen of a technique - then further developed by Venetian craftsmen in the 13th century - for the production of glass sheets. By blowing a hollow glass sphere and swinging it vertically, gravity would pull the glass into a cylindrical "pod" measuring as much as 3 meters long, with a width of up to 45 cm. While still hot, the ends of the pod were cut off and the resulting cylinder cut lengthways and laid flat.
            Other types of sheet glass included crown glass (also known as "bullions"), relatively common across western Europe. With this technique, a glass ball was blown and then opened outwards on the opposite side to the pipe. The panes thus created would then be joined with lead strips and pieced together to create windows. Glazing remained, however, a great luxury up to the late Middle Ages, with royal palaces and churches the most likely buildings to have glass windows (32).

III.2 Venetian Glass

III.2.1 From Rome to Venetian Republic
            The stability brought to the empire in the 4th century AD by Constantine and Christianity enabled glass to continue as a mass produced material. During the century, however, as the central cohesion was gradually lost, glass production centres began increasingly to reflect their regional influences. The break up of the Roman Empire caused glassmaking to evolve into two different types, reflecting the two different civilizations contained within it, East and West (33).
            The Eastern Empire, dominated as it was by the establishment of the capital of the Christian Roman Empire at Constantinople drew on the influences within its new limits. The new capital was built on the site of the ancient city of Byzantium, and its eastern cultural influences caused glassmaking to develop in a very different way to the other half of the old Roman Empire. The ability to make clear glass and decorative techniques like cutting, enameling and gilding are demonstrated in the few surviving examples. Glass making remained an urban art, patronized by the wealthy, the Church and the Royal Court. In the West glass was produced locally, reflecting local needs, raw materials and making systems. The ability to achieve a colorless glass by a careful selection of raw materials became impossible and glass inevitably showed the character of local silica and flux within the body (34).
            Thus the glass industry as a legacy of the Romans failed to flourish in the West for most of the Middle Ages. Venice did serve a central role at least in Europe during these periods; it developed a glass industry to produce sheets of richly colored glass for mosaic tessarae, which was well established by the 9th century and provided a strong root on which additional expertise obtained by trade and treaty with the East could be grafted (35). Yet, a flourishing glass industry did not develop in Europe until the end of the 13th century, when Venice became a major glass making center (36).

III.2.2 Venice as World Power and Production Center
            Venice as a City State grew in importance during the 11th to 13th centuries by exploiting its unique position in the Mediterranean. It became an important centre for learning and the arts, in which glass, true to its nature, flourished. The power wielded by its fleet allowed it to further exploit its advantageous trading position on the Adriatic, achieving a virtual dominance of trade with the East. Through this, the conditions were established that allowed many secrets of glassmaking to be brought to Venice at a crucial point in its development as a world power (37).
            Glassmaking went into decline in Europe following the break-up of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, but the skills survived the Middle East and during the Islamic period (622-1402) some superb work was produced, culminating in the magnificent enamelled mosque lamps of the fourteenth century. When in turn the power of Islam declined, Venice was ready and waiting to take over (38). Byzantine craftsmen played an important role in the development of Venetian glass, an art form for which the city is well-known. When Constantinople was sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, some fleeing artisans came to Venice. This happened again when the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453, supplying Venice with still more glassworkers. By the sixteenth century, Venetian artisans had gained even greater control over the color and transparency of their glass, and had mastered a variety of decorative techniques (39).
            Very little Venetian glass survives from before about 1450, when colored glasses richly enamelled with religious, mythological and heraldic scenes began to appear. A little later the Venetians perfected a colorless glass which they called cristallo, using quartz pebbles for silica, soda ash from a Spanish marine plant, barilla, and a small amount of manganese as a decolouriser (40)
            During the time when cristallo was being developed, and glass industry had long been settled on the island of Murano. This community of glassmakers emerged as an indirect result of the decree of November 8, 1291, that banned the operation of glasshouses in Venice because of the fear of devastating fires. The relocation of the glass workshops to Murano was not part of this decree, but the industry was tightly monitored by the government through updates of the Mariegola, the statutes of the glassmakers' guild. Uncontrolled emigration of glassmakers posed a threat to the financial well-being of the community. In some cases, these economic pressures (or greed) drove them to seek more lucrative permanent employment as glassmaker outside Venice and the Terraferma, the neighboring mainland (41).

III.2.3 Artisans and Murano Glass
            It was the fortuitous contribution of a local raw material that added the important final ingredient and allowed the development of crystallo, the typical Venetian glass. The combination of clarity, malleability and long working time created a material that perfectly matched the complex formal language of the High Renaissance. Yet it would be unjust to attribute the success of Venetian glass only to the raw materials; the crystal glass, as it rapidly became known, seemed so well suited to the stylistic context of Renaissance Venice only because of the inventiveness of the makers. (42).
            The technological development of crystallo was deeply rooted in alchemical experimentation. Turning salt and sand into what appeared to be rock crystal was interpreted as belonging to the same science that was thought to have the possibility of turning base metal into gold. Angelo Barovier (credited with being the city's best maker of crystallo vases) and other well-known Venetian glass masters often received lucrative invitations from foreign courts. Negotiations concerning the loan of highly specialized craftsmen were not unusual. The Venetian government recognized the diplomatic and financial potential of such contracts, and it sometimes granted selected glassmakers permission to leave, provided that the engagement was limited and did not endanger the city's economic interests (43).
            Venetian crystallo set the patterns in motion that other cultures would follow for generations. While crystallo glass would not be surpassed until the invention of lead crystal glass by the English the flooding of Venetian styled fakes into the market and changing tastes in luxury goods caused the glass industry of Murano to wane in popularity. Quality glass goods from Murano are still being sought after till this day despite the slump in sales and innovations in glass purity are still being discovered. Even now, after hundreds of years since its glory days, Venetian glass is still highly desired for the excellence in its design and execution (44).

IV. Industrial Revolution and the Mass Production of Glass
            If Venetian craftsmen advanced glass production to the utmost level of delicacy with their skill and creativity, it was only through the Industrial Revolution that glass production came up to the level befitting the name 'industry.' There are a few important technological advancements, among many, that made this possible. They were mainly from areas outside Italy and Venetia, such as Germany and England. There were always producers from Venetia in these areas, but it was from their swifter progress in the industrial revolution that they gained the momentum for such innovations.
            In the year 1635, Sir Robert Maxwell introduced the use of coal fuel instead of wood (45). The increasing exploitation of lignite and hard coal as fuels and the establishment of a soda industry released the glass industry from dependence on wood. The glassworks no longer had to be located in remote forested regions (46). This regional change paved the foundation for more important innovations that would enable mass production of glass.

IV.1 Lead Crystal
            Lead crystal was an important innovation in the way from contaminated, colored glass to more pure and clear glass. Coal as a fuel was unsuited to the open furnaces with their oxygen rich atmosphere that had evolved for use with wood. A simple substitution of coal for wood meant that black tarry deposits constantly fell into the glass mixture and contaminated it. To counteract this the English developed a special closed pot with an opening in its side to provide access to the glass. The shift from wood to coal, and the adaptations to the process this necessitated, also created the circumstances by which oxide of lead could be added to the glass batch. The open pot would have oxidized the lead to create a heavily contaminated glass (47).
            The development of lead crystal has been attributed to the English glassmaker George Ravenscroft (1618-1681), who patented his new glass in 1674. He had been commissioned to find a substitute for the Venetian crystal produced in Murano and based on pure quartz sand and potash. By using higher proportions of lead oxide instead of potash, he succeeded in producing a brilliant glass with a high refractive index which was very well suited for deep cutting and engraving (48). High purity lead glass was used as flint glass for optical purposes (49).

IV.2. Innovations and Increase in Production

IV.2.1. Friedrich Siemens and the New Furnace
            The pot furnaces (in which ceramic pots with the raw materials were placed) which had been used since ancient times, were not sufficient for mass production. The invention of the tank furnace by Friedrich Siemens allowed continuous production and the use of machinery. Furnace technology was improved by the regenerative process, in which the exhaust heat from the melting furnace warms up burner gas and fresh air prior to their mixture, so that the fuel combustion is more efficient and higher melting temperatures can be achieved (50).

IV.2.2. Otto Schott and Ernst Abbe
            Two German scientists laid the foundation for modern glass technology. Otto Schott (1851-1935), chemist and technologist from a family of glassmakers, investigated the dependence of the physical qualities of glass on its composition by using scientific methods. In his father's basement laboratory, he studied the influence of many chemical elements on glass. In a manner of speaking, glass was rediscovered (51).
            In the field of optical glass, Schott teamed up with Ernst Abbe (1840-1905), a professor at the University of Jena and joint owner of the Carl Zeiss firm, to make significant technological advances (52). Over the years, there were hardly any areas of industry which were not supplied with quality glasses from Jena (their company). Cooking and baking utensils made of heat-resistant glass became common household items, making 'Jenaer Glas' known all over the world. The Jena Glassworks soon had a worldwide reputation (53).

IV.3 Automation of Production and the Glass 'Industry'
            The impetus for automation, which of course was critical to making glass production an industry, came initially from outside Europe. Shortly before 1900, the American Michael Owens (1859-1923), invented the automatic bottle blowing machine which was introduced in Europe after the turn of the century. Somewhat later, processes for mechanical production of flat glass were available, without which the quickly rising demand for architectural glass could not have been met. For example, in 1851, 300000 standardized glass panes were used as wall panels for the Crystal Palace built by Paxton for the Great Exhibition in London. This was one of the earliest examples of the use of glass as a structural material (54)
            Added impetus was given to automatic production processes in 1923 with the development of the gob feeder, which ensured the rapid supply of more consistently sized gobs in bottle production. Soon afterwards, in 1925, IS (individual section) machines were developed. Used in conjunction with the gob feeders, IS machines allowed the simultaneous production of a number of bottles from one piece of equipment. The gob feeder-IS machine combination remains the basis of most automatic glass container production today (55).
            These innovations in glass production finally made it an industry with capacity for mass production and major technological advances. It may therefore be reasonable to say that glass 'industry' began quite recently with the advent of the Industrial Revolution.

V Modern Innovations
            Some important innovations continued to take place regarding both the technique and the use of glass, marking glass as a constantly changing and developing material. Of course not all of the numerous inventions can be covered, but a few most important will be discussed.

V.1 Modern Flat Glass Technology
            It was not long ago that real 'flat' glass was produced. Originally, a process developed by the French in 1688 was used for the production of plate glass, principally for use in mirrors, whose optical qualities had, until then, left much to be desired. The molten glass was poured onto a special table and rolled out flat. In the production of flat glass, the first real innovation came in 1905 when a Belgian named Fourcault managed to vertically draw a continuous sheet of glass of a consistent width from the tank. Commercial production of sheet glass using the Fourcault process eventually got under way in 1914.
            Around the end of the First World War, another Belgian engineer Emil Bicheroux developed a process whereby the molten glass was poured from a pot directly through two rollers. Like the Fourcault method, this resulted in glass with a more even thickness, and made grinding and polishing easier and more economical (56).
            A new technique called 'Float Glass advanced glass production further toward flatness. Float Glass is a sheet of glass made by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal, typically tin, although lead and various low melting point alloys were used in the past. This method gives the sheet uniform thickness and very flat surfaces. Between 1953 and 1957, Sir Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff of the UK's Pilkington Brothers developed the first successful commercial application for forming a continuous ribbon of glass using a molten tin bath on which the molten glass flows unhindered under the influence of gravity. Full scale profitable sales of float glass were first achieved in 1960 (57). Thus the glass as we use today in our windows was finally developed.

V.2 Art Nouveau and Glass Design
            Glass design, after flourishing within the hands of Venetian craftsmen, continued to grow after the industrial revolution. The beginning of the twentieth century saw the emergence of novel art nouveau glass shapes and glass decorations, not only in Europe but also in the USA. Among the artists designing glasses in the art nouveau styles were Emile Galle (1846-1904) in France, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) in the USA, Josef Hoffman (1870-1956) in Austria and Josef Maria Olbrich (1867-1908) and Karl Koepping (1848-1914) in Germany (58).
            An examination of glass design in the period around 1910 reveals a lively interest in experimentation with a variety of techniques to permit individual and original expression in the medium. In many ways early twentieth-century French glassmakers drew inspiration from Emile Galle. The enameling technique known as pate de verre, produced by refireing colored ground glass in molds, resulted in translucent surfaces of varied color. An example is a pate de verre designed and produced by François Decorchment (1880-1971). Other French designers directed their efforts to clear glass, often with thick walls pressed into molds to accentuate relief surfaces, or sometimes trapping bubbles in a technique known as "verre souffle" or "bubble glass (59)."

V.3 Glass Architecture
            Bent glass has been used for building purposes since the early nineteenth century, with a prime example in the aforementioned Crystal Palace built by Paxton for the Great Exhibition in London. Yet this is still a modern and dynamic product that has far from exhausted its potential. Today the use of bent glass is steadily increasing along with other uses of glass in modern architecture. Safety glass now accounts for a growing proportion of all production. With the continuing advances in glass technology, the improving safety properties and energy economy of glass and the new methods available for producing bent glass, the future market prospects for bent glass are promising indeed.
            There is a strong trend in modern architecture towards transparent structures, which allow natural light to enter buildings and on other hand open up the natural landscape to end-users inside. Glass creates an airiness, provides a sense of space that can only be achieved with larger glass sizes and in lighter support structures.
            The use of glass in public buildings and office complexes has steadily increased over the past few decades, and the trend looks set to continue. Glass is an inexpensive material which offers many superior properties in different applications. It is environmentally friendly and fully recyclable, an increasingly important consideration with the growing emphasis on life-span thinking (60).

V.4 Recent Uses of Glass : Fiberglass and GRP
            One of the most important and promising uses of glass today, perhaps, is fiberglass. Fiberglass, (also called fibreglass and glass fibre), is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.
            In 1893, Edward Drummond Libbey exhibited a dress at the World's Columbian Exposition incorporating glass fibers with the diameter and texture of silk fibers. What is commonly known as "fiberglass" today, however, was invented in 1938 by Russell Games Slayter of Owens-Corning as a material to be used as insulation. It is marketed under the trade name Fiberglas, which has become a genericized trademark.
            Uses for regular fiberglass include mats, thermal insulation, electrical insulation, sound insulation, reinforcement of various materials, tent poles, sound absorption, heat- and corrosion-resistant fabrics, high-strength fabrics, pole vault poles, arrows, bows and crossbows, translucent roofing panels, automobile bodies, hockey sticks, surfboards, boat hulls, and paper honeycomb. It has been used for medical purposes in casts (61).
            Another popular and relatively recent use of glass is the GRP, or Glass-Reinforced Plastic. Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), also known as glass fiber-reinforced plastic (GFRP), is a fiber reinforced polymer made of a plastic matrix reinforced by fine fibers made of glass (62).
            GRP was developed in the UK during the Second World War as a replacement for the molded plywood used in aircraft radomes (GRP being transparent to microwaves). Its first main civilian application was for building of boats, where it gained acceptance in the 1950s. Its use has broadened to the automotive and sport equipment sectors as well as model aircraft, although its use there is now partly being taken over by carbon fiber which weighs less per given volume and is stronger both by volume and by weight. GRP uses also include hot tubs, pipes for drinking water and sewers, office plant display containers and flat roof systems (63).
            Numerous other innovations continue to take place; glass is, after all, a still developing material.

VI. Conclusion
            There is hardly any civilized country that does not produce glass. The building of manufacturing facilities for glass containers for food, drinks and household use usually marks the beginning of industrialization in the developing countries.
            Thus, more and more nations are contributing to the history of the glass tradition which can be traced back over thousands of years. There are no indications that this trend will change soon, for the raw materials required to make glass are plentiful. In fact, glass has shown the potential to replace many materials which are becoming scarce (64).
            Perhaps the preceding millenia have not had a Glass Age because it is still to come. Scientists are already discussing metals and other materials which can be transformed into a glassy state, thereby opening up many new possibilities (65). As such, glass remains to be a material of vast possibilities, and so does the glass industry.


1.      Pfaender 1996. Pg. 1.
2.      Article: "History of Glass," from Wikipedia
3.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 1.
4.      Cummings Pg. 104.
5.      Article: "History of Glass," from Wikipedia
6.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
7.      Article: "History of Glass," from Wikipedia
8.      Cummings pg. 102
9.      ibid. pg. 103.
10.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 1.
11.      Cummings pg. 103-104
12.      Article: "History of Glass," from Wikipedia
13.      Cummings pg. 104.
14.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 2.
15.      Cummings pg. 104.
16.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 3
17.      Dodsworth 1982 Pg. 3
18.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
19.      ibid.
20.      "The History of Glass Making," from Kinsale Crystal
21.      Article: "History of Glass," from Wikipedia
22.      Dodsworth 1982 pg. 4.
23.      ibid.
24.      Homans, Isaac Smith. A Cyclopedia of Commerce and Commercial Navigation. Pg. 825.
25.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 3-4.
26.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
27.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 4
28.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
29.      Article: "Medieval Stained Glass," from Wikipedia
30.      ibid.
31.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
32.      ibid.
33.      Cummings pg. 108
34.      ibid. pg. 108-110.
35.      ibid. pg. 116-117.
36.      "The History of Glass Making," from Kinsale Crystal.
37.      Cummings pg. 117
38.      Dodsworth 1982 pg. 5
39.      Article: "Venetian Glass," from Wikipedia.
40.      Dodsworth 1982 pg. 6
41.      Page 2004 Pg. 5.
42.      Cummings pg. 117
43.      ibid.
44.      "A History of Murano Glass - II." From Life in Italy.
45.      Homans 1859 Pg. 826..
46.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 11
47.      Cummings pg 123-124.
48.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
49.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 10
50.      ibid. pg. 11.
51.      ibid.
52.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
53.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 13
54.      ibid. pg. 11.
55.      "A Brief History of Glass," from GlassOnline.
56.      ibid.
57      Article: "Float Glass," from Wikipedia
58.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 10
59.      Raizman 2003 Pg. 148-149.
60.      "Modern Glass Architecture : Shaping the Future," from Glasstec-Online.
61.      Article: "Fiberglass," from Wikipedia.
62.      Article: "Glass-reinforced Plastic," from Wikipedia.
63.      ibid.
64.      Pfaender 1996 pg. 15
65.      ibid. pg. xiii.


Note: websites quoted below were visited in November 2010.

Biobliographical Sources
1.      WHKMLA, Commercial Directories, <>
2.      British Books in Print 1982. Vol.1. London: J. Whitaker & Sons Ltd, 1982.

Information Sources
3.      Pfaender, Heinz G. Schott Guide to Glass. London: Chapman & Hall, 1996.
Wikipedia Articles :
4.      Fiberglass, <>.
5.      Float Glass, <>.
6.      Glass, <>.
7.      Glass-reinforced Plastic, <>.
8.      History of Glass <>.
9.      Medieval Stained Glass <>.
10.      Obsidian, <>.
11.      Venetian Glass, .
12.      Cummings, Keith. A History of Glassforming. London: A & C Black (Publishers) Limited.
13.      Page, Jutta-Annette, and Ignasi Domenech. Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style, 1500-1750. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2004.
14.      GlassOnline : A Brief History of Glass, <>
15.      Kinsale Crystal : The History of Glass Making, <>
16.      Dodsworth, Roger. Glass and Glassmaking. N.p.: Osprey Publishing, 1982.
17.      Homans, Isaac Smith. A Cyclopedia of Commerce and Commercial Navigation. Vol.1. Ed. 2. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1859.
18.      Raizman, David. History of Modern Design: Graphics and Products Since the Industrial Revolution. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2003.
19.      Glasstec-Online : Modern Glass Architecture: Shaping the Future, <,oid,3233/lang,2/ ticket,g_u_e_s_t/src,ne_topic_0703_2/~/MODERN_GLASS_ARCHITECTURE_SHAPING_THE_FUTURE.html>.

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