While back painted glass is definitely one of the most modern uses & incarnations of glass, the creation & manipulation of glass has been around for thousands of years. Over then next few weeks we’ll be going over some of the techniques used by through out history to create this beautiful material we know as glass.
Welcome to the third & final part of our series on glass making techniques. In our previous posts we covered the gradual evolution of creating glass objects from the simple coating of clay molds, to glass blown by artists whose skills are gained throughout their life time, to the unskilled labors using mechanical presses. All these process have lead up to what we consider to be the modern manufacturing of glass and many are still used but in a much larger & faster way.
To start things off a near continuous stream of molten glass is feed into the forming machines from the aptly named melting tank. Now how each particular forming machine then creates the glass object is where all the former glass making techniques come back into play. As you’d expect there are methods best suited for particular objects. For example, the technique of blowing glass when combined with the molds perfected by casting, allow for the mass production of bottles, beakers, etc.
The introduction of mechanical aid & machines first seen with the mechanical press in the mid 1800s have since been fully automated. Continuously feed with molten glass computerized hydraulics presses have allowed for the creation of cups, bowls, and plates at a rate and level of quality completely unobtainable in years past.
While rolling presses have allowed for high quality sheets, panes, & windows to be mass produced. Windows in particular saw great leaps in quality & uniformity from these modernization techniques, as glass blown windows had some obvious draw backs.
Glass making has, still is a fascinating process, the refinement & automation of these processes have allowed the wide spread use of glass in our every day lives. From iPhones & TVs to cars & homes it’d be quite hard to imagine a world without glass.