Sand – ordinary sand – appropriately blended with various other substances has given us the astonishingly versatile material that we call glass. Windowpanes and mirrors are made of glass, so are bottles, fruit jars, drinking glasses and many dishes. Glass tubes and lamps form as an essential part of radio and television sets. We use glass for the lenses of still, motion-picture and television cameras. The electrical industry makes wide use of glass insulators. Stable electronic resistors and capacitors for computers and for space exploration are made of glass. The chemist needs vast amounts for the retorts and tubes in which he fashions his modern miracles. Through the big lenses of his telescope, the astronomer peers far out into space. The delicately adjusted lenses of the microscope bring into view living things that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Glass blocks serve in building construction and glass fibres can be woven into fabrics. Ceramic materials made of glass serve for heat resistant cooking ware and the nose comes of missiles. Our life would go on without glass, but it would be poorer indeed.
The History Of Glassmaking
Nature was the first glassmaker, creating obsidian from natural volcanic glass. Man began to mimic nature’s manufacture of glass at an early age. He mixed sand with soda, lime, or other ingredients, then fused the mixture at high heat and sculpted the molten mass. The Egyptians were forerunners in the skill of glassmaking, while the Romans were the foremost glassmakers of antiquity.
Glass served the Romans for personal ornaments and for architectural decorations, sometimes even for windows. They made beautiful artificial gems of coloured glass –they decorated glass with gold leaf. When the barbarians overthrew the Western Roman Empire, the art of glassmaking came to an abrupt halt in Europe. It continued to flourish, however, in the East, particularly in the Byzantine Empire.
Glassmaking was revived in Western Europe toward the end of the eleventh century. The Italian city-state of Venice became especially noted for its fine coloured glass with decorations in enamel and gold tracery and for exquisite filigree patterns, like lace made of glass threads.
All of the essential glass-forming techniques were understood by the time Venice created these marvels. Until the late 1700s, progress in the glass industry was restricted to the discovery of a few new raw materials and the development of artisanal skills. Then machinery was added and quickly became popular.
Today, the industry is almost completely mechanized, though hand operations are still used in some small-volume specialized fields. There has been a remarkable advance in glass technology, particularly in providing new ingredients and in modifying the heating treatment so as to bring about a variety of desired properties.
Nowadays, you’ve even got professional and trusted glazing companies, like Eltham Glass PTY Ltd, that can even repair broken glass.
The History Of The Chief Glassmaking Processes
The chief processes used in making glass are much the same as they have been for many years past.
- Sand and other materials are assembled to form what is called the glass batch.
- These materials are melted in a furnace at a very high temperature and produce molten glass.
- While the glass is molten, it is shaped and made to cool so as to form a rigid piece.
- The glass article is annealed, that is, it is reheated and then gradually cooled.
The Selection Of Raw Materials
Proper selection of batch materials is essential. Glassmakers prefer materials in granular form, because they mix well with sand. Raw materials are usually stored in large bins or silos above the batch house, the chamber where the glass is prepared.
So, if you are looking for some trained and experienced technicians for any of your glass work – be it repairs, replacement or installation – Eltham Glass PTY Ltd is the right choice.