Glass is one of the most ancient of all materials known and used by mankind. The geologic glass, obsidian was first used by man thousands of years ago to form knives, arrow tips, jewelry etc. Manmade glass objects appear to be first reported in the Mesopotamian region as early as 4,500 BC. glass objects dating as old as 3,000 B.C. have also been found in Egypt.

Surprisingly these glasses have compositions very similar to those of modern soda lime silicate glass. No doubt the readily available soda ash, from fires, limestone, from seashells and silica sand, from the beaches are the cause of this agreement. Earlier glass coated objects have been dated to as early as 12,000 B.C. and are in the form of glazes and enamels on ceramic pottery, used presumably to improve the water tightness of various jugs, bottles and vases. The next pages give a time line describing the development of glass from the earliest crude materials to the modern day high technology glass used in numerous applications.

1500 BC - Containers, Touthmosis III, sand molds with sand core and removed by scraping to be formulated

900 BC - In Syria & Rhodes, Greece, glass production begins, glass recipes begin to be formulated

650 BC - First Glassmaking handbook, Assyrian Assurbanipal's Library

500 BC - Venetian glass artists begin to create vases and glass pieces glass rolls

50 BC - Phoenician glassblowing flourishes to create art glass

25 BC - 400 AD - Roman empire causes rapid development and expansion of glass melting, working and forming technology in the Mediterranean region

100 AD - Glass cost rapidly declines and for the first time becomes available to less than the aristocracy

1000 AD - Venice glass center dominates in glass production, Murano island is established as a major glass center.  Venice moves its glass ovens to the island of Murano to remove the danger of fire. The city establishes draconian penalties for any glass maker caught jeopardizing the Venetian monopoly in clear glass by taking production secrets abroad.

1590 - Glass telescope and microscope lenses are developed in Netherlands and used for the first time

1600 - France established as major power in the glass industry, Henry IV confers exclusive rights to some Italians to produce glass in selected cities in France

1665 - Jean Baptiste Colbert centralized glass making in France and established dominance flat glass and used the palace Of Versailles as a lasting symbol of their art and technology.

1693 - France is a dominate producer of flat glass for mirrors and windows, Saint Gobain factory becomes the "Manufacture Royle des Glaces de France"

1765 - "Crystal Glass" production begins 

1800 - Industrial revolution dawns a new era in glass manufacturing. "Synthetic" chemicals for glass making are available for the first time. Synthetic glasses with improved properties become available.

1863 - sovay process dramatically reduces cost of a main ingredient in glass, sodium oxide. 

1867 - Siemens brothers, Freiderich, Karl, Hans, Werner and Wilhelm patent and develop first regenerative glass furnace in Dresden, Germany

1875 - Technical glasses are developed in Germany, Abbe, Schott, and Carl Zeiss. University of Jena, Jena, Germany becomes a major glass science and engineering center. Glass chemistry is in its infancy.

1876 - Bausch & Lomb Optical Company founded in Rochester, NY. Makers of lenses and other optical components.

1900 - Mechanized forming process begin

1915 - University of Sheffield establishes Department of glass Technology, now called the Center for Glass Research

1920 - Griggith theory of the strength of brittle materials first applied to glass bulbs deliberately weakened by scratches, dramatically improves understanding of and how to improve the strength of glass

1923 - Gob Feeder introduced world wide

1925 - Individual Section (I.S.) bottle machine invented by Henry Ingle used with the gov feeder to dramatically increase and reduce cost of producing glass containers.

1926 - Arthur Wood and David Gray of Corning Glass Works develop the "399" machine later called the "Ribbon" machine to make light bulbs. Bulbs can be made at speeds of 1000 per minute.

1932 - William Zachariasen publishes the "Random Network Hypothesis" of glass structure and his rules of glass formation in J. Amer. Chem. Society 

1950-1960 - Ford Motor Co. establishes major glass research center, glass science becomes a major research discipline

1959 - Pilkington Brothers patent the float glass process and introduced in England and will ultimately revolutionized flat glass manufacturing.

1970 - 1st silica optical fiber produced at Corning Glass Works using chemical vapor deposition techniques to reduce attenuation and improve signal transmission.

1970-1980 - Expansion of many university glass research programs across the US in Catholic University, Penn State, Rutgers etc.  

1984 - Marcel & Michel Poulain and Jacques Lucas discover first fluoride glass in Rennes, France.

Present Day - Glass research is now moving beyond oxide glass chemistries and traditional melting processing. Entirely new processes such as sol-gel processing, chemical vapor deposition are being developed. New glass chemistries are being developed all the time, especially non-oxide chemistries such as halide glasses, chalcogenide glasses and chalcohalide glasses.