Origins of Glass: Myth and Known History

  • Seth C. Rasmussen
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science book series (BRIEFSMOLECULAR, volume 3)

Abstract

Where and when glass production began is uncertain. It is thought by some that the first glass was probably developed in the Mitannian or Hurrian region of Mesopotamia, possibly as an extension of the production of glazes (~5000 BCE). Around this same time, a new material called faience was developed, which was produced by utilizing a variety of techniques to create a glaze layer over a silica core. It may have been invented in either Sumeria or Egypt, but its full development was accomplished in Egypt, and it is therefore commonly referred to as Egyptian faience. Although this material was used to craft beads during the third and fourth millennia BCE, it involved sintering (fusion below the melting point), rather than the complete melting of the silica mixture. As such, faience can be thought of as an intermediate material between a glaze and glass. Glass as an independent material is not thought to predate 3000 BCE, with the first glass objects including beads, plaques, inlays and eventually small vessels. Glass objects dated back to 2500 BCE have been found in Syria, and by 2450 BCE, glass beads were plentiful in Mesopotamia. Glass came later in Egypt, with its manufacture appearing as a major industry around 1500 BCE. The oldest glass of undisputed date found in Egypt dates from ~2200 BCE.

Keywords

Copper Smelting Silica Core Glass Object Glass Sand Vitreous Mass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seth C. Rasmussen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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