Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Tidbits] Glass


#1

… to rhyme with … um… Okay. Primitive man is on a beach
working with two sticks to make a fire. The wood kindles. The group
huddles about for warmth and finally falls asleep. When they awake
… they go about their chores … barely noticing the little
clouded glass beads that formed when the heated sand mixed with ash.
And that was the beginning.

Circa 3000 B.C. Mesopotamia. Things have changed a tad since that
time long ago on that beach. The Mesopotamians are the first people
to deliberately fuse silica and alkali ash in order to make glass
beads. And for the next century or so … these beads are the jewelry
rage among the rulers and the wealthy classes. And now a thousand
years pass.

2000 B.C. Craftsmen discover that by increasing temperatures, glass
can be made fluid enough to pour into molds. Figurines are invented
… as is ornate jewelry … and perhaps even shot-glasses. Hey …
Baba … you want a little schnapps before going home to the missus.
Pour it in here Cyrus. Ahhhh.

1200 B.C. Babylonia. It’s time to learn how to blow glass. This
process is refined by the Romans and soon Venetian glass is invented.

We zoom with lightning speed to 1904. The time of the Louisiana
Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis, Missouri to commemorate that day
in 1803 when President Jefferson broke the law by purchasing the
Louisiana Territory … an event marking the largest real-estate
deal in U.S. history. Somebody tell The Donald to move over … the
Trump was trumped a long time ago… The Libby Glass Company of
Toledo, Ohio creates a lead crystal glass plate that is nothing
short of magnificent. It’s entitled: Apotheosis of Transportation.

This item is on display at the Smithsonian folks. It is the stunner
of all stunners.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Glass in
order to view a dish of a dish.

Benjamin Mark


#2

I just love Tidbits. And that glass is amazing, thank you for
sharing :wink:

Dawn in Taylor, Texas


#3

Ahhhh, Benjamin Mark – I keep wishing you’d get better sources for
your “historical” generalizations. For a technical history of things
like metal, glass, ceramics, stones, bone, ivory, shell, wood,
etc., you should see P.R.S. Moorey’s great classic, Ancient
Mesopotamian Materials and Industries–the Archaeological Evidence
(Clarendon Press, Oxford; 1994; reissued by Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake,
Indiana).

For example, you say–

   Circa 3000 B.C. Mesopotamia. Things have changed a tad since
that time long ago on that beach. The Mesopotamians are the first
people to deliberately fuse silica and alkali ash in order to make
glass beads. And for the next century or so ... these beads are the
jewelry rage among the rulers and the wealthy classes. And now a
thousand years pass. 

Moorey (1994: 190) notes that none of the early glass finds from the
Ancient Near East “may confidently be dated before the middle of the
third millennium BC.” It is correct to say that the few examples of
ancient glass were essentially all beads, but to refer to a few dozen
examples of beads from a nearly thousand-year period (ca. 2500-1650
BC) as being "all the rage among the rulers and the wealthy classes"
is a gross overstatement.

You add–

          1200 B.C. Babylonia. It's time to learn how to blow
glass. This process is refined by the Romans and soon Venetian
glass is invented. 

Moorey (pp. 189-190) says about glass, “It can be pressed into
moulds or blown like a bubble from the end of a pipe, as was
discovered in the first half of the first century BC somewhere in
the Levant.” (I.e., not 1200 B.C., not in Babylonia)

Moorey (p. 192) says, “There is nothing in the material record
before the Kassite period in Mesopotamia [i.e., after 1650 BC] to
indicate anything other than an infrequent and irregular production
of glass, predominantly for personal ornaments, which showed little,
if any, appreciation of the material’s special properties. The
isolated finds dated before the middle of the second millennium BC
have sometimes been explained as no more than compositions intended
as faience, which turned completely vitreous when overfired…”

Judy Bjorkman


#4

I enjoy Tidbits. Benjamin is a story teller. He’s not trying to
write a history book!

marilyn


#5

Historically accurate or not, tidbits is one of the most
entertaining posts in any discussion group, period. I look forward
to it every week.

James in SoFl