Glass from the Past: A Look into the History of Glass

Take a look into the history of glass manufacturing, and the history of Austin, Texas’ Anchor-Ventana Glass.

 

Glass is an everyday part of our lives. From glancing in a mirror before we start our day to driving to work and looking through the windshield, glass is everywhere. The history of developing and manufacturing glass throughout humankind is an important comparison of what we know and use today. 

The Beginning of Glass

Before our ancestors learned how to make glass, people used naturally occurring glass like obsidian for knives, arrowheads, jewelry, and more. According to archeological evidence, the first man-made glass was in Eastern Mesopotamia and Egypt around 3500 B.C., and over the next 1,000 years, the glass industry increased, then declined as times changed. In the beginning, the process of manufacturing glass was slow and complex.  

 

Industrial Glass

Glass melting furnaces were small and the heat they produced was hardly enough to melt glass. But in the 1st century B.C., a Syrian craftsman invented the blow pipe, and this revolutionary discovery made glass production faster, easier, and cheaper. Throughout Europe, the art of making stained glass on churches and cathedrals across the continent reached its height in cathedral windows produced in the 13th and 14th centuries. 

 

By 1575, English glassmakers made glass in Venetian fashion. In 1674, an English glassmaker named George Ravenscroft, invented lead glass which is a heavy, blown type characterized by brilliance, clarity, and high refraction. The first glass factory in the United States was built in 1608, and the demand for window glass grew.

Glass in America

In the early 1800’s there was a high demand for window glass, called “crown glass,” and more machinery was developed to meet the growing needs. In the 1820s, glasses, flasks, and bottle blowing became popular, but 50 years later the first semi-automatic bottle-making machine was created. In 1904, an American engineer named Michael Owens patented automatic bottle blowing machines. 

 

Float Glass to Glass Windows

The process of making float glass was introduced by Alastair Pilkington in 1959, and remains to be the industry standard of manufacturing glass to this day. In the floating glass development process, molten glass is poured onto a bed of molten tin. As the molten glass floats on the tin, the glass spreads out to form a level surface. This process allows for large panes of distortion-free glass to be created. With today’s windows and glass needs within the home, float glass is still used with a variety of options such as laminated, obscured, and tempered glass.  At Anchor-Ventana Glass, we provide custom glass to meet the needs of your home or business.

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Our History 

Established in 1977, Anchor-Ventana Glass had a mission of preserving and thriving within the community. During the mid to late 1980s, when the construction industry first experienced financial devastation, we weathered the storm through declining sales, employee pay cuts, and layoffs. Over the years, our locations have changed to best meet our customer’s needs. 

 

We opened our hub and now only location in 1999 on Historic Chisholm Trail in Round Rock, TX. This customer-friendly facility has the largest show-room in the greater Austin, TX area for mirrors, shower glass, cabinet glass, accessories, and more. The facility is also home to our 90+ employees, who have a combined 600 years’ experience in the industry. If you want to learn more about who we are at Anchor-Ventana Glass, contact us or visit our showroom today