The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London

The First Glass Production – Making Glass in Early Days

Stone Age people used naturally occurring glass which was formed when lighting strikes sand and by volcanic eruptions as a result of high-temperature when certain types of rocks melt.

Little is known about place and date of the first glass production. Pliny the Elder suggesed that the Phoenicians had accidentally discovered of how glass is created. He wrote: “The tradition is that a merchant ship laden with nitrum being moored at this place, the merchants were preparing their meal on the beach, and not having stones to prop up their pots, they used lumps of nitrum from the ship, which fused and mixed with the sands of the shore, and there flowed sreams of a new translucent liquid, and thus was the origin of glass…”

However, archaelogical evidence indicate that glass like materials were used in ancient Egypt long before the production of glass itself. There are evidences supporting the theory that people made and used glass over 3500 years ago in Egypt. It is believed that the first intentionally created glass was used as a glaze on ceramics earlier than 3000BC. The first glass we know of dates from the Neolithic Badarian culture at the turn of the 5th and 4th millenia BC. Glass is produced from a mixture of silica-sand, lime and soda. It was used at first only for beads, but later on for amulets, shawabtis, other figures and inlays. Egyptian faience is a popular material used in the production of amulets and swall vessels and it was a mixture of quartz sand with an alkali binder.