The Timeline of Glass

Ancient Egyptian art

Since the earliest history of man as builders, the most essential of our construction materials were fabricated from the most rudimentary ingredients — that which could be grown or gathered from the earth. Soft metals were mined from veins in the rock, smelted into tools, and used to furrow the fields or field dressing a hunted quarry; straw was shorn from the fields and mixed into mud to make reinforced bricks; fire melted sand to make a sharp, reflective surface called glass.

It was this latter invention — as familiar to our ancient ancestors as it is to us, today — that helped diversify not only our buildings but our art and worship. While the Egyptians of 5,000 years ago might not have used glass in their shower enclosures as we do here in Utah, they were nevertheless the first to see the potential of glass as a great compliment to their construction. 

Window Installations and More

As was mentioned above, the Egyptians were the first civilization to develop and use glass in their buildings, but the proliferation of its use across the world gets even more interesting as you look down the timeline. From the earliest days of Ancient Greece and beyond, man has been using glass much the same as we have, in everything from jewelry, home decoration, and more. The tradition of making custom glass cabinetry that we have here at Smitty’s Quality Glass goes back farther than one might think.

The Ancient Days

About 3500 – 1500 BCE

Thanks to Egypt’s history of ingenuity and warfare, the earliest and best-preserved examples of glass ever found have been in that country. It could be that the glass was developed directly in Egypt by local artisans or it was carried back to the Upper and Lower Kingdoms as spoils of war, no one really knows. The glass was formed into small beads made from molds, a byproduct of what was probably discovered initially by accident while working in the hot fires of the forge.

From its origins in Egypt glass blowing spread all throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean during this period, eventually including what is now modern-day:

  • Greece
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Oman

650 BCE

Glassmaking officially enters the written record as a legitimate trade. The first example of written glasswork instructions was discovered in Syria, where craftsmen — the precursors to our own Utah shower enclosure experts — began broadening their techniques and applications of glass.

323 – 30 BCE

In this span of years, known as the Hellenistic period, glass shaping started to be in ever-greater demand. Vases, bowls, goblets, and multi-colored mosaics began to adorn the great houses and temples of the era. It is no wonder that glassblowing as a technique would skyrocket just a few years later.

The Pre-Modern Era

1 – 1000 AD

As we round the corner into the age of anno domini, glass manufacturing begins to look much more like it does today. This is due in large part to the experimentation that is going on as well as the mass-production of glass all around the world, as well as the price of glass becoming less prohibitive to the common man. Much like the work we do to install shower enclosures in Utah, people in the glass industry had their work cut out for them (no pun intended).

During this time, colored glass grew in demand and it was starting to get used much more in window installations. 

1100 – 1700 AD

The period covering the Dark Ages through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment Age saw glass become not just a regular part of everyday life, with reflective mirrors coming out of the Middle East, but a tool for art, education, and worship. Stained-glass windows began to be installed in European cathedrals, which not only increased one’s sense of religiosity but one’s literacy as well. 

Meanwhile, household items such as the glass of custom cabinetry, carafes, and jewelry started to get etched and decorated by glass cutters.

Glass Today

1800 – Present

The first showers, as we know them now, were invented in the 19th Century. This important moment was not only a big step in the fight for sustainable hygiene but for the modern glass industry, which could branch out even further into providing glass for domestic uses. 

Today, glass is one of the most integral materials of our civilization — a key component in the aesthetic of our homes, offices, and places of worship. No matter how big or small the job is, our team at Smitty’s Quality Glass can handle it. We are experienced in every type of glass installation one could need, from vanity mirrors to contemporary offices and beyond. Give us a call today to set up an appointment to go over your latest project. We can’t wait to add your job to the already illustrious glass timeline.