chapter  22
Glasses
Pages 8

Probably , the fi rst glass to be ‘ seen ’ by Man was in the form of ‘ stones ’ produced by lightning strikes but little is known of its early manufacture, though bright blue glass ornaments dating from 7000 BC have been discovered. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder in the fi rst century AD , tells us that soda glass was made accidentally by the Phoenicians from the fusion of sea-sand and soda. By Pliny ’ s time, glass making was a profi table industry and Phoenician glass blowers were producing beautiful vases, jugs and phials in decorated glass. By AD 300, the fi rst window-panes were being made by pouring molten glass onto a fl at stone, but the glazing of windows was not widespread in England until the sixteenth century, though window glass had reached us in Norman times. Progress in this fi eld, as in so many others involving early science and engineering, had been halted by the Fall of Rome and the Dark Ages which followed, culminating in the Black Death. In those days, the homes were either very draughty – or very dark.