Inspirational Stained Glass

January 9, 2015

The Obscure Beginnings of Stained Glass

Many histories of stained glass begin with Pliny’s tale of the accidental discovery of glass by Phoenician sailors. The legend recounts shipwrecked sailors who set their cooking pots on blocks of natron (soda) from their cargo then built a fire under it on the beach. In the morning, the fire’s heat had melted the sand and soda mixture. The resultant mass had cooled and hardened into glass. Today, though, it is thought that Pliny — though energetic in collecting material — was not very scientifically reliable. It is more likely that Egyptian or Mesopotamian potters accidentally discovered glass when firing their vessels. The earliest known manmade glass is in the form of Egyptian beads from between 2750 and 2625 BC. Artisans made these beads by winding a thin string of molten glass around a removable clay core. This glass is opaque and very precious.

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