Glass has always existed, not in the form we mostly know it as today but in the form of natural glass created by random circumstances in the universe, on our planet and on countless other worlds where some planets are covered by it completely. “WOW, how amazing is that?”
On our small but vibrant and precious world natural glass does exist (in nature of course) as well, and is created when sand or rock with usually a high concentration of silica are heated up to extreme temperatures and then rapidly cooled.
“What is silica you might ask?” Well silica is the given name to a group of minerals made up of silicon and oxygen and happen to be two of the most commonly abundant elements found in the Earth’s crust. Silica is most commonly found in it’s crystalline state and very rarely found it’s amorphous state and is composed of one silicon atom and two oxygen atoms resulting in a chemical formula of SiO2.
Obsidian, (also known as volcanic glass) is just molten rock that is cooled quickly to become rock existing in a glass like state.
Some of the first known industrial uses for crystalline silica were for glass making and metallurgical creations, some three to five thousand years b.c. and has been an extremely important key component in the industrial development of our planet. Silica is still contributing to this day with our information technology movement by being used in plastics and by being the key material used for silicon chips.
An ancient Roman historian known as Pliny (23-79 A.D.) attributes the first known discovery of glass to the Phoenician merchants (transporting stone) around Syria about 5000 B.C., completely by accident (as it seems most great discoveries are made). However, the earliest know created objects of glass date back to around 3500 B.C. by the Egyptians and eastern Mesopotamians.
Glass making’s arguably greatest achievement still till this day was the breakthrough in glass blowing, an achievement attributed the Syrian craftsman of the Sidon-Babylon area. The thin metal tube used in the process of glass blowing is virtually the same today as it was then. Romans in the last century of the B.C. era started blowing glass in molds which greatly increased the variety of different shapes now possible for hollow glass creations. Due to Roman conquests, road building, effective political administration, and great deal of other factors under the reign of emperor Augusts, that created perfect conditions so that glass works could now flourish the Mediterranean and western Europe.