Sunday, September 21, 2014


Stained glass window

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Silica (the chemical compound SiO2) is a  common fundamental constituent of glass that contains about 70 to 74% silica by weight and is called a soda-lime glass. Soda-lime glasses account for about 90% of manufactured glass.
Silicate glass generally has the property of being transparent. Because of this, it has many applications. One of its primary uses is as a light-admitting building material, traditionally as small panes set into window openings in walls, but in the 20th-century often as the major cladding material of many large buildings. Glass is both reflective and refractive of light, and these qualities can be enhanced by cutting and polishing to make optical lenses, prisms, fine glassware, and optical fibers for high speed data transmission by light. Glass can be colored by adding metallic salts, and can also be painted. These qualities have led to the extensive use of glass in the manufacturing of art objects and in particular,stained glass windows.
Although brittle, glass is extremely durable, and many examples of glass fragments exist from early glass-making cultures. Because glass can be formed or molded into any shape it has been traditionally used for vessels: bowls, vases, bottles, jars and drinking glasses. In its most solid forms it has also been used for paperweights, marbles, and beads. When extruded as glass fiber it becomes an insulating and structural reinforcement material, especially when embedded as a plastic composite in fiberglass.
The term glass developed in the late Roman Empire. It was in the Roman glassmaking center at Trier, now in modern Germany, that the late-Latin term glesum originated, probably from a Germanic word for a transparent substance.
Naturally occurring glass, especially the volcanic glass obsidian, has been used by many Stone Age societies across the globe for the production of sharp cutting tools and, due to its limited source areas, was extensively traded. But in general, archaeological evidence suggests that the first true glass was made in coastal north Syria,Mesopotamia or Ancient Egypt. The earliest known glass objects, of the mid third millennium BCE, were beads, perhaps initially created as accidental by-products of metal-working .

Roman glass
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Glass remained a luxury material, and the disasters that overtook Late Bronze Age civilizations seem to have brought glass-making to a halt. Indigenous development of glass technology in South Asia may have begun in 1730 BCE. In ancient China, though, glassmaking seems to have a late start, compared to ceramics and metal work. In the Roman Empire, glass objects have been recovered across the Roman Empire in domestic, industrial and funerary contexts.

Glass was used extensively during the Middle Ages. Anglo-Saxon glass has been found across England during archaeological excavations of both settlement and cemetery sites. Glass in the Anglo-Saxon period was used in the manufacture of a range of objects including vessels, beads, windows and was also used in jewelry. From the 10th-century onwards, glass was employed in stained glass windows of churches and cathedrals, with famous examples at Chartres Cathedral and the Basilica of Saint Denis.Stained glass had a major revival with Gothic Revival architecture in the 19th-century. With the Renaissance, and a change in architectural style, the use of large stained glass windows became less prevalent. The use of domestic stained glass increased until most substantial houses had glass windows. These were initially small panes leaded together, but with the changes in technology, glass could be manufactured relatively cheaply in increasingly larger sheets. This led to larger window panes, and, in the 20th-century, to much larger windows in ordinary domestic and commercial buildings.
From the 19th century, there was a revival in many ancient glass-making techniques including Cameo glass, achieved for the first time since the Roman Empire and initially mostly used for pieces in a neo-classical style. The Art Nouveau movement made great use of glass, with René LaliqueÉmile Gallé, and Daum of Nancy producing colored vases and similar pieces, often in cameo glass, and also using luster techniques. Louis Comfort Tiffany in America specialized in stained glass, both secular and religious, and his famous lamps. The early 20th-century saw the large-scale factory production of glass art by firms such as Waterfords and Lalique. From about 1960 onwards there have been an increasing number of small studios hand-producing glass artworks, and glass artists began to class themselves as in effect sculptors working in glass, and their works as part fine arts.
Cameo glass
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Art nouveau jelly jam pot

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