The Glass

The Glass

The history of the appearance of the glass goes thousands years back, blending with the history of the humanity, his achievements in several areas, cultural expansions and territorial.

Between 3 and 4 thousand years ago, it was known that through the fusion from natural elements at high temperatures it was possible to obtain news materials still unknown, just as the iron and bronze already used. In search of new results researches were made. Evidences make us believe that the Mesopotamian Region, between the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates, achieved a brilliant result, an opaque and hard material, with different characteristics of the metals, appearing to be a precious stone. There were the first steps so that through this glass paste, many centuries after, it was able to achieve the glass as it is known today. The materials molten at that time were the silica in form of sand and in high quantities, the sodium carbonate is responsible for the reduction of the melting point of the silica, and vegetable ashes with the necessary quantity of potassium and oder oxides.

This mixture molten in precarious furnaces still underwent a slow and difficult process of purification in which were added the oxides responsible for the colors. The knowledge about this production system expands to Phoenicia, Syria and Egypt.

This glass paste was used in the production of little decorative objects, for personal and domestic use. The forms were limited to plates, cylinders, rings, miniature and imitations of precious stones, highly valued and destined for the elite of the time.

The great evolution of glass production happened centuries later with the application of a metallic hollow tube which was used to blow the molten glass and enabled the creation of different forms such as bottles, vases and many other utensils. The development of this tool resulted in the glass rod used until today in the artistic glass production.

The glass expansion followed the many territorial conquests, with great influence in the Roman Empire, which had brought from Egypt some craftsmen whose knowledge was later used in the production of the roman glass, widespread later in the whole Europe.

During the decline of the Roman Empire, the families who dominated the techniques and knowledge from glass production spread all over Europe. Some groups such as Altare and Venice stood out through their proper identity.

Venice has an extremely important role in the history of glass. The encouragement of the production was due to commercial purposes with the Orient. To save the secrets, in 1290 the glass fabrics were transferred and limited to Murano, an island 700 meters from Venice, where the entrance and exit of the master glassmakers were severely controlled. On the other hand, these craftsmen received privileges of the nobility such as the right to mint their own gold and silver coins.

The importance of Murano was the constant search on improvements of the techniques and quality. In the island was developed, in the 15th century, the first crystalline and transparent glass.

The glass production was already held in some parts of Europe, Orient and Asia. With the introduction of the crystalline glass, a new impulse was given all over the world. In England, in the Nordic countries and in the Bohemia, the lead is used as fondant, originating fine utility pieces, with sonority and intense glow.

Murano improves his artistic glass, colorful, demanding a craft work and a lot of creativity maintaining like this the traditions of its origins in Phoenicia and Egypt. While Murano developed totally in the production of artistic and manually made glass, the industry abroad installed progressively the use of machines, improving thereby a great sort of flat glass and an enormous variety of products, from components of spaceships until pots, which are part of the modern life.

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