All About Glass

glass-waterDiscovered by the Mesopotamians around 3500 BC, the human race has used glass in many different ways. Here is everything you need to know about glass:

Early years

According to the Corning Museum of Glass, historians can trace evidence of manufacture and use of glass to communities living in Mesopotamia before 2000 BC. Others peg this period around 3500 BC. However, it is possible human ancestors used obsidian as glass 9,000 years ago. By 1500 BC, the Phoenicians and the Egyptians were proficient enough in the art of glass making to produce glass-based items, such as glass beads. During this period, glass was mostly a luxury material only accessible to the rich, noble or titled community members.

Bronze Age to first Century BC

Rapid breakthroughs in glass making technology did not occur until the Bronze Age. As a result, this industry went through cyclical boom and bust periods through 500 BC. Nevertheless, experimentation led to the perfection of certain techniques, such as making colored glass ingots. A common characteristic of glass objects from this period is color diversity due to high impurity content in raw materials. Colorless glass did not appear until the first century BC. Also, around first century BC, industry experts figured out how to color glass by adding certain colorants.

First Century BC Onwards

From Mesopotamia, glass making artistry spread to communities in the Mediterranean, Indian subcontinent, China and the western parts of Asia. The Chinese learned this technology from Mesopotamians and exported it to their land. The Romans are credited with introducing glass-making technology to Western Europe, including present-day England, France, and Germany. They also invented clear glass manufacturing via the addition of manganese oxide. Through the 11th and 13th centuries, Venetian artisans experimented with ways of making glass sheets and stained glass windows. In 1674, an English glassmaker pioneered and patented the use of lead crystal technology to produce glass with a high refractive index.

Other innovations along the way included:

• The introduction of “polished plate” in France in 1688

• Otto Schott’s study of various chemical element effects on glass optics and thermal properties

• Invention of tank furnace by Friedrich Siemens

• Invention of automatic glass blower by Michael Owens in the late 19th century

• Introduction of the gob feeder to industrial glass production lines in 1923, introduction of “Individual Section” machines in 1925

• Improvement of Pittsburgh process in 1928

• Float glass invention by Sir Alistair Pilkington (UK) in 1959

• The discovery of fluoride glass in France by Marcel and Michael Poulain and Jacques Lucas in 1984.

The Glass Making Process

To make a glass item/vessel, one needs various chemicals including sodium carbonate, pure silica, lime, aluminum oxide, magnesium oxide, sodium sulfate, antimony oxide, sodium chloride, boron oxide, iron, and cerium oxide. The glass making process has not changed much since the Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon era. In essence, the process involves heating silica, soda ash, and lime to extreme temperatures. As this mixture cools down, it is shaped into various glass products via blowing or pouring into molds. However, some modern processes are highly automated. Moreover, manufacturers now routinely use additives to enhance color, durability and opacity of glass, among other desirable properties.

Common Uses of Glass

Glass material has almost limitless uses including:

• In building construction, glass abounds in fixtures including doors, windows, walls, roof light clearings, balustrades, tables and shelves

• Packaging of food and cosmetic products

• Manufacture of tableware including plates, cups, and bowls

• Manufacture of medical technology devices used in radiology, biotechnology, and optometrics

• In Automotive and transport industry to manufacture of vehicle windscreens, lights, and other structural components

• In fiber optic cables to relay information to and from PCs, TVs, and mobile devices

• Building construction: Buildings constructed entirely from glass and structural support beams are a common sight in many parts of the world now

• Manufacture of renewable energy appliances such as solar panels


Humans have found different ways to use glass since its discovery around 3500 BC. Today, glass is widely used in myriad industries including building construction, food packaging, automobile, solar panel and fiber optic cable manufacturing industries, among others.

Tips For Saving Money On Glass And Window Repair

glasswindowsGlasses and windows are some of the features that make homes more attractive but they come at a cost. For instance, if your windows are not properly protected, your will experience significant increase in your utility bills. Similarly, broken glasses on your windows can pose great dangers to you and the people that you care more about. The cost of glass repair and/ or window repair can be very intimidating, especially, if you have insufficient information. However, there are several tips that can help you save money without entirely replacing your windows.

Generally, when one encounters window repair and glass repair tips, people tend to consider very little on the ease and cost effectiveness the repairs may turn out to be. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to examine all your windows for cracks, which may be letting in cold air. From your examination, the cracks that you find should be sealed immediately since up to twenty five percent of heating expenses are resulting from cold air, which comes through broken windows. Read More

Glazing Standards AS-1288

Glazing Standards – Does your glazier or glass supplier engage in best practice?

Australian Standards and their absolute adherence are essential to ensure the protection and safety of people living and working in residential and commercial buildings.


Always ask if your glazier or glass supplier is an AGGA accredited member. AGGA members are trained and tested in interpreting AS 1288-2006 the selection and installation standard for the glass and glazing industry. For AGGA members, best practice is not a negotiation, it is the only option. By using an AGGA member to source your glass products, you can be assured that they have been certified by a qualified certifier and are from a reputable supplier. Read More

Replacement of a Curved Glass Food Display Cabinet

Replacement of a Curved Glass Food Display Cabinet

Big Lou’s Donuts in Fitzroy had a broken curved glass food display cabinet requiring emergency replacement.

See our before and after photos for the great results and speedy turnaround time, measuring the curved display cabinet on Monday and installing the new cabinet on Wednesday in the same week.


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Glass Types – What type of glass do you have in your home?

Glass Types – What type of glass do you have in your home? Call Glass Express for a free Safety Audit on 1300 767 415

Glass is the most smart, unique and beautiful material in the building fabric.


No matter what scale of operation, from replacing one window in a house to a fully glazed high rise block, the glazing solution will have an impact on the building and its users.

Choosing the right glass makes a difference.

or Float Glass

Annealed glass is the basic flat glass product that is the first result of the float process. It is the common glass that tends to break into large, jagged shards. It is used in some end products — often in double-glazed windows, for example. It is also the starting material that is turned into more advanced products through further processing such as laminating, toughening, coating, etc.

The float glass process is renowned for flatness and optical clarity. It is available in clear, toned, high performance toned, ultra clear low iron glass and Low E pyrolitic coated.

Insulating Glass or Double Glazing

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