What are the uses of glass?
Glass blowing has several uses. Besides the common uses of bowls and vases, Ancient Romans also used glass blowing to make glass windows. This was done by cutting and flattening a long piece of blown glass. During the Renaissance period, colored, stained glass windows were introduced, similar to those found in many churches. Today, glass blowing often used in vases, jewelry, and similar items.
Also common today are crystal glass awards, which are elegant and rich in design. Crystal awards reflect light creating prismatic displays of bent light. They can be created only of glass or combined with other materials such as marble, wood or metal. They can be laser engraved or sand blasted with personalized information for a wonderful presentation.
Most of us know that glass is all around us, every day, but do we ever really think about how much? When you woke up this morning, you probably looked out the window. You look in the mirror every day. You look through the windshield of your car, and drink your coffee from a mug. You eat off of glass plates. Look around any room in your house, and you will likely see many things made of glass. A fair amount of this glass is flat and simple, like a window. But, a large amount is curved, shaped, even colored.
Glass is one of those things we take for granted. It’s actually a very versatile material. Do we ever look at a drinking glass and wonder how it got its round shape? Of course not. We simply take it out of the cupboard and fill it with our beverage of choice. Or, we look at a decorative figurine in our living room. Do we wonder how it was formed? No, we just look and admire it. In reality, many of the glass objects around us are a result of glassblowing.
Glass is known as an amorphous solid, meaning its rigid but has a molecular structure that is random like a liquid. It is this molecular structure that makes glass transparent. Glass is composed primarily of silica, a high quality type of sand. Metals and metal oxides are added to silica in order to lower the melting point of the mixture.
There are two methods of glassblowing, free-blowing and mold-blowing. The first method was developed in the 1st century BC, and is still used today mostly for artistic purposes.
What makes glass unique? It is a material that is always a liquid. Glass is known as the “fourth state of matter”, because it has no solid or gaseous state. Glass appears to be solid, such as windows and drinking glasses. It is actually made of a super cooled liquid, whose molecules are moving extremely slow. The liquid nature of the glass becomes visible at 1400 degrees fahrenheit. at 1450 degrees fahrenheit, the edges of the glass soften and melt. The glass begins to flow at 1550 degrees fahrenheit, and you can see it moving as the temperature increases. Some other facts about glass that many people may not know include the following:
* In 1500 B.C, Egyptians made vases, cups and glass jewelry.
* In 1903, the first fully automated glass bottle making machine was used in Toledo, Ohio.
* Glass takes one million years to decompose.
* Glass can be recycled over and over. There is no limit.
There are many components to glassblowing, and the glass craft in general. It has a deep rooted history, and can be used to create a multitude of products. Classes are offered for those interested in learning the craft.