The Roman Empire
Some can argue that glass blowing dates all the way back to the Egyptians when they used it to glaze their tiles, while others can claim that it coincides with the establishment of the Roman Empire, in the first century BC. Glass was being blown in many areas of the Roman Empire and was greatly supported by the Roman government. Although the use of glass properties can be seen throughout history, the first methods of glass blowing came about in the Roman Empire. Glass blowing became so popular that eventually it reached back to Egypt. This easy to use technique replaced much of the previous methods for making items such as perfume bottles and abstract mosaic art pieces. Glassblowing shops quickly spread throughout the western territories and soon became a very popular craftsmanship. Glass Blowing centers were popping up in every major city. One in particular was established in Cologne along the River in Germany. Here, Mold Blowing became a huge part of a glass blowers technique. Evidence of terracotta molds were discovered in Cologne as well as clay blowpipes suggesting the application of Mold Blowing techniques being established here.
Glass items were a significant trade item as it was growing rapidly and it was highly valued. In Italy, about 1400 AD, glass was so highly valued that it could even be traded for gold. Glass makers were also prized craftsmen and were kept from traveling in order to keep the “secrets of the trade” in Italy. Of Course, this did not happen as people escaped and gave their ideas and techniques away.
Glassblowing found its way to the New world. Workers were imported and glass houses soon became a great deal to the new settlers of this new land. The founding fathers knew that this would be a huge market and they were right. The idea of Glass houses quickly spread throughout the colonies.
The Renaissance Age
Medicine, Astronomy, and the many different sciences were leading the Renaissance into a new age. Glass became highly prized in the invention of the microscope. Glassblowing allowed for scientist to examine the world with a different perspective. By refracting light with glass, the Renaissance emerged from the dark ages and found knowledge and light through the production of glass. Glass makers were valued in the world of science to produce glass bottles, flasks, and vials. Glass allowed for scientist to study different chemicals, gases and potions while also being able to heat, cool and store them. A new method was created known as the ‘German Method’, in which used a glass tubing technique instead of the traditional Free blowing technique. Glass blowing definitely opened the eyes to a whole new world and shaped our knowledge into today’s knowledge.
Glass Blowing in Today’s World
Over the centuries, Glassblowing has not lost its spectacle. It is still highly prized and needed for today’s world. Today, we see a lot of Blown Glass Art. In 1962 began the ‘Studio Art Movement. Harvey Littleton, who was a ceramics professor, and Dominick Labino, a chemist and engineer, came together to begin this artistic movement. They used the same techniques that much of the Roman Empire used but began to make beautiful pieces of Art by blowing the glass. This, of course, cause for the great ‘Studio Art Movement’ and produced artist such as Dale Chihuly, Dante Marioni, and Marvin Lipovsky.