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Glass – 12 Interesting Facts You Must Hear

by Francesca Coleman Carr

Glass is a Bit of a Riddle..

It’s hard enough to protect us, but it shatters with incredible ease. It’s made from opaque sand, yet it’s completely transparent. Perhaps, the strangest fact is that is behaves like a solid material… Yet, it’s actually a liquid! Glass has become an essential mainstay in our day-to-day lives. It’s everywhere we look, from our light bulbs, windows, cars, phones, computers, and even the glasses you’re looking through right now! (if you wear glasses that is).

Glass raises many questions and leaves us puzzled more often than not. So, with that being said we here at Sash Windows London have compiled some of the most interesting facts about glass. Take a look below!

1. Lightning strikes!

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Before we as humans figured out how to create glass, nature was already two steps ahead. When lightning strikes sand, the heat is sometimes able to fuse the sand into long, slender tubes of glass named fulgurites. Similarly, the intense heat of volcanic eruptions can occasionally fuse rocks and sand into a glass called obsidian, which was used to craft arrowheads, knives, spears and now jewelry and even money.

 

2. The Portland Vase

One of the most valuable glass items in the

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world is the Portland Vase. The vase is estimated to have been created in Rome around the beginning of the Christian Era, between AD 5 and AD 25.

 

 

 

3. First glass ever built in America

The first glass ever built was in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. The Jamestown Glasshouse was situated where the Native Americans used to camp and where the main roads converged, known to the settlers as the Greate Road.  Colonists in Jamestown tried making glass in 1621,  but were interrupted by an Indian attack 1622, which halted the industry until 1739.

 

 

4. Glass can change colour if exposed to radiation

The final colour created is dependent on the chemical composition of the glass and can be altered by selection of additives (eg: cerium ions can reduce browning, manganese ions induce an amethyst colour). The final colour is a combination of original glass colour and the effects of the colour centre formations.

Ordinary glass turns brown when exposed to nuclear radiation, so glass companies developed a special non-browning glass for use in observation windows in nuclear power plants.

 

5. France’s King Charles VI, also known as Charles the Mad, regularly hallucinated that he was made of glass

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He often carried iron pieces in his clothing as he thought that the pieces would protect him. He insisted that iron rods should be inserted into his clothing to prevent him from smashing and even wrapped himself in blankets to prevent his buttocks from braking. This is not as uncommon as you may think, it has been named the ‘glass delusion’ wherein people genuinely believe that they are made of glass.

 

 

6. Glass can be dissolved with hydrofluoric acid

Due to its high reactivity towards glass and moderate reactivity towards many metals, hydrofluoric acid is usually stored in plastic containers. In the 17th century when it was first discovered, chemists had to use glass bottled coated inside with wax to contain it.

 

 

 

 

7. Brown glass is used most often for food or drink containers, especially beer

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Amber bottles are preferred by the pharmaceutical companies and by producers of essential oils and pure plant ingredients for a good reason. Essentially, it protects the product inside from photo damage (the sun’s UV rays can change the components of different products).

 

 

 

 

8. New York’s Corning Museum of Glass has over 45,000 pieces of glass art and hosts the largest collection in the world

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Founded in 1951, the museum is a not-for-profit museum dedicated to telling the story of a glass. The museum displays the world’s best collection of art and historical glass. When you visit, you’ll see more than 3,500 years of history displayed in the Glass Collection Galleries. From the glass portrait of an ancient Egypt Pharaoh to contemporary sculptures made in glass.

 

 

9. Almost all windshields are made of laminated glass

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Vehicles are now fitted with “spider web” laminated glass. In the event of breaking, the glass is held in place by a inter-layer, typically of polyvinyl butyral or ethylene-vinyl acetate between its two or more layers of glass.

 

 

 

10. Glass never wears out, meaning it can be recycled over and over again

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It is wise to remember that not all glass can be recycled, at least, not yet. Different types of glass have different melting points. Some glass is made to withstand high temperatures, while others are made to hold cold drinks.

 

 

11. Glass is known as the “fourth state of matter” since it’s considered to always be a liquid, but has no solid or gas state

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Plasma is what we’re talking about here. A plasma is a hot ionized gas consisting of approximately equal numbers of positively charged ions and negatively charged ions. It can be create by heating a gas or subjecting it to a strong electromagnetic field. This can be achieved with the use of items such as microwave, or laser generator at temperatures above 5000 degrees.

 

12. Glass Whiteboards are the newest and best products on the market

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They’re durable, long-lasting and never streak or stain. Not only are they a better investment, but they are more eco-friendly than the chemically coated press boards of the past.

Whilst tempered glass is not currently recyclable, the boards are virtually unbreakable and rarely need to be replaced.

 

 

 


Are there any fun facts about glass that I missed out? Comment below if you know of any that rival, or better our own!

team francesca

Francesca is the Managing Director of Sash Windows London Ltd, a family-owned and professionally managed window company providing a full range of sash window products throughout the UK. Passionate about providing high-quality, friendly, and reliable services. You can read Francesca’s full bio here.

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