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How glass changed the world

How glass changed the world

You probably don't give much thought to the impact that glass has on your life, but if you take a minute to ponder on it, you'll realise that this material can be found in a huge number of things that you see and use every day. The screen of your television, your windows and the buildings in nearly every city – all of these things are made from glass. Even the smartphone in your pocket is made from a piece of chemically strengthened glass.

So when did glass become such an essential material? Well, naturally occurring glass has been in use since as far back as the Stone Age, but the first man-made glass was created in Syria, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt in the mid-third millennium BC. For a long time after this glass remained a luxury material, until the Romans started using it for windows and architecture.

Over the next thousand years, glass-production spread around Europe, and as time went by, more and more uses for glass were discovered. So how has this material changed the world? What glass products do we have now that we couldn't live without? The answers to these questions can be found here, in our pick of the top three glass inventions throughout history. You'll never look at glass in the same way again!

Architecture

Glass was first used in architecture by the Romans, but it was with Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace that its potential as a building material was firmly established. The Crystal Palace was built in London in 1850 for the first World's Fair, and at the time it was the largest building on the planet. Constructed from nearly a million square feet of glass formed from 293,655 panes, the design used a third of what Britain typically manufactured in a year. Since then, architects have made the most of this incredibly strong material – it's more durable than most metals – to create some of the world's most famous structures, from the Empire State Building to the Louvre's glass pyramid.

Windows

Before the invention of glass, it was pretty much impossible to let light into a building without letting the cold air in too, meaning that candles and fires were the only options. The manufacture of sheet glass meant that natural light could be brought into a building without letting too much heat out. The use of glass for light has also had a huge impact on the food we eat. The widespread availability of glass meant that, for the first time in history, people were able to grow plants that came from countries all over the world in their own back-garden greenhouses.

Lenses

How many people do you know that wear glasses? Probably quite a few. Well, without glass lenses the gift of crystal-clear sight would certainly not be so easily available to them. But the use of glass lenses goes far beyond the everyday, allowing us to look at far-away planets and stars through telescopes, as well as at the tiniest of organisms through microscopes.


Posted By:
Safestyle UK

18.09.2013

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How glass changed the world

You probably don't give much thought to the impact that glass has on your life, but if you take a minute to ponder on it, you'll realise that this material can be found in a huge number of things that you see and use every day. The screen of your television, your windows and the buildings in nearly every city – all of these things are made from glass. Even the smartphone in your pocket is made from a piece of chemically strengthened glass.

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