Glassplays an essential role in our lives and has done for centuries.
Glass has notalways been so ubiquitous and this book charts the development of the Englishglass industry from the medieval period to recent times. Medievalglass was a scarce, luxury material used to furnish the tables of thewealthiest members of society, and to glaze only churches and palaces.
Theindustry was small and largely based in rural areas, where the necessary rawmaterials (in particular wood for fuel) were abundant. Inthe 16th century, glass manufacture increased and benefited from technologicaldevelopment (largely brought by immigrant glass makers).
This encouraged a dropin prices for customers which probably helped to increase the demand for glass. Throughout the 17th century the English glass industry was transformed by theuse of new coal-fuelled furnaces, and raw materials, especially seaweed andlead.
By the 18th century, glass was routinely used to glaze houses even forthe less wealthy members of society, store wine and beer, and serve drinks.
Thescientific analysis of glass and glass working waste from this period hasadvanced considerably in recent years and has enriched our understanding of theraw materials and technologies employed in glass manufacture.