Glass

Glass is such a fascinating substance. It is solid but you can look through it! Whoever discovered the process of making glass some 4000 years ago or more, probably lived in Mesopotamia or Egypt. May be playing with fire turned out to be good after all :-). It spread far and wide from there and is now so ubiquitous that nobody gives a second thought to it, until it breaks and one needs to clean up or pay a hefty charge to repair it (think smart phone screens)!

Heck, without glass, we wouldn’t even be taking these photos and sharing them with the world!

I was once in a museum and learnt that in the 1st century Rome, there were people known as “ambulators” who roamed the city to collect broken glass. The broken glass was bought from householders and brought back to make new glass. So basically the fragility of the substance, gave rise to a new job – that of “ambulator”! Recycling is nothing new 😀.

A milk bottle for feeding babies, from the Roman times

In gold-crazy India, glass bangles too have an important position. They are a necessary part of a married woman’s trousseau in North India. There is a whole city involved in this industry, since 200 years. That’s the city of Firozabad, next to its more famous neighbor Agra of Taj Mahal fame.

Bundles of glass bangles ready for sale (photo courtesy Pexels)

Colored glass used to be a luxury item in the beginning. Wealthy Romans used stained glass in their homes. Later, the churches were decorated with beautiful stained glass windows (and other amazing art that money could pay for).

A round stained glass window in the Siena Cathedral, Italy

The conversion of glass into mirrors opened up a whole new world. Today that is such a commonplace item that nobody gives a second thought about it. But it was quite a luxury item in the past. So much so that some monarchs prided themselves on getting a room of mirrors constructed in their palaces to impress their guests.

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, France

Then of course, who can think of drinking wine or champagne without a stem glass? I’d read in a magazine when I was quite young and didn’t know too much about the world, about a Bohemian prince in the early 20th century saying that only the crystal glass of Baccarat was worthy of his table. Even today, it is a luxury item for the rich and the regal. I wonder when I will encounter that glass and see for myself what was he talking about :-).

A wall of colorful alcohols in bottles at a bar in Athens, Greece

And how would we have had light powered by electricity, bringing another revolution in human world, without the glass bulbs?

Decoration with glass bulbs at a clothing store

A little philosophical thought to end the post..

What is real and what’s an illusion? Who knows

This post is my entry for the Sunday Stills prompt for this week by Terri.

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