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The History of Glass

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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Glass is thought to have been created during the bronze age.

Glass is an inorganic solid material that is usually clear or translucent with different colors. It is hard, brittle, and stands up to the effects of wind, rain or sun.

Glass has been used for various kinds of bottles and utensils, mirrors, windows and more. It is thought to have been first created around 3000 BC, during the bronze age. Egyptian glass beads date back to about 2500 BC.

Mosaic Glass

Modern glass originated in Alexandria during the Ptolemaic period, artisans created "mosaic glass" in which slices of colored glass were used to create decorative patterns.


Glassblowing was invented during the 1st century BC by the glassmakers of Syria.

Lead Crystal Glass

During the 15th century in Venice, the first clear glass called cristallo was invented and then heavily exported. In 1675, glassmaker George Ravenscroft invented lead crystal glass by adding lead oxide to Venetian glass.

Sheet Glass

On March 25, 1902, Irving W Colburn patented the sheet glass drawing machine, making the mass production of glass for windows possible.

Glass jars and Bottles

On August 2, 1904, a patent for a "glass shaping machine" was granted to Michael Owen. The immense production of bottles, jars, and other containers owes its inception to this invention.

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