The history of glass can be traced back to 3500 BC in Mesopotamia and the first jar made of glass was made in 3000BC. The first historical archaeological evidence of glass was discovered in ancient Egypt along the Mediterranean coast where it is estimated that that the first glass like object was discovered from the slug waste that was used from extracting metals. Indigenous production of glass progressed commercially in 1730 BC, and in Ancient China took out late as compared to metalwork and ceramics. It later took a giant production root that saw it to become among the leading global producers for the past fifty years until now.
A mirror on the other hand is an object that is opaque on one side that is used to reflect light and filter out wavelengths and preserving others in the reflection. There are two types of mirrors: plain mirrors and curved mirrors or concaved mirrors. The first most likely historical use of mirrors was in the reflection of poolside reflections and some primitive vessels of some kind. Most of the obsidian mirrors are found in modern day Greece, Dating back to 4000 BC. China started manufacturing bronze mirrors in 2000 BC. The used of modern day metal coated mirrors were used in modern day Lebanon in the first century BC.
The use of mirrors in scientific studies and research was advanced in the field of mathematics where parabolic mirrors were used to study classical antiquity in burning mirrors. Thus, scientific engineering was first advanced with plane, convex, and concave spherical mirrors in optical engineering and optics. This was the beginning of civilization where optical geometry was advanced. China started producing silver-coated mirrors in the first century BC. This was the beginning of modern time civilization during the Renaissance Period where modern day Britain perfected its glass skills by coating it with iron. Glass over the years has been used as a luxury, where the royals of the society used ornaments and utensils.
The evolution of the glass production was advanced in Athens, which made Venice the centre of production of modern mirrors. The silver coating of glass was adapted to the mass manufacturing of mirrors. German alchemist advanced the production mirrors and glass.
The historical cultural extension in glass making was advanced in Hindu kingdom in glass technology that begun in 1730 BC in south Asia. The evidence of this culture was the discovery of the red blown glass bead along with hoards of beads along Indus valley. Indian architects advanced the use of glass in ornaments making and interior decoration. The same also happens in Chinese history where several archaeological extraction and mines show the Chinese and Japanese ancient architects used glass for decoration and beauty.
The Arab world has also been instrumental in the advancement of glass technology in both Persian and Arab empires. By the beginning of the 19th century AD the Arabs and the Persians led the exporting of glass and ceramics. The crown of the queen of England and the ancient Roman Empire were made of pure glass, thus serving as a royal commodity. It was at one time used as a standard value of exchange currency in the Middle East in the early 19th century.
The presence of glass in the western world was earlier discovered in America in Virginia when Americans used glass to make windowpanes and drinking vessels. They were among the first group of individuals to use drinking vessels made of glass.
The use of glass and mirrors in Mesoamerican cultures was deeply associated with how realms where mirrors were specifically used in decoration and divinatory work. This divination stormed from the use of the surface water bowl for divination. This later advanced to the use of mirrors for divination and divine consultation. This was at the time of discovery of the obsidian iron mirror. The use of mirrors in divine intervention was used as a supplement of the elite status costume. Mirrors acted as conduits for supernatural powers because of their bright surfaces.
The pre-Colombian diviners used mirrors to reveal and predict a person’s future. The use of mirrors in Mesoamerican culture and religion has advanced over the years. Thus, the use of glass and mirrors has advanced over the years and has been instrumental in the automobiles and architectural engineering. It is instrumental in the optical lens industry where glass is used in the manufacture of eyewear. The use of special glass to enhance eyesight and promote optical human technology has seen evolution of the many functions of glass today.
The use of glass in the architectural sector has foreseen several improvements including the use of glass for windowpanes and the use of glass for manufacturing of glass houses and green houses. It is frequently used in the manufacture of coffee tables and has even the use of glass for interior decoration. The quality of glass used however is depended on quality and type of silica used.
Sun proof glasses are used in houses as they prevent the penetration of the sun and are sound proof. Where safety is of paramount importance, it is advisable that strong glass be used. Thus, in the use of glass for furnaces and laboratory, use Perspex glass that withstands heat. Glass is also used in the automobiles industry for windowpanes and windscreen. Glass is also used in the manufacture of furniture where tables and other accessories are made of glass. Glass is also used in the manufacture of utensils and other kitchen accessories and is part of the larger-manufacturing element for ceramics.
Mirrors have also advanced their use from the ancient cosmetic and beauty perfection to industrial manufacturing and engineering. Mirrors are an important part of the automobiles industry where they form part of the drive test. All vehicles require side mirrors and driving mirrors for effective driving and racing. They are the instruments that are used to guide a car’s direction.
They are also used in the manufacturing of television and other projectors. They are instrumental in the manufacturing of high definition television and video projectors. They were also instrumental in the manufacture of electronics and other electrical accessories. The use of mirrors in the manufacturing of lens and telescope has seen the advancement in the manufacturing of cameras and other optical instruments.
Mirrors have also been instrumental in the manufacturing of face mirrors, which are used for beautifying purpose. They are also instrumental in the manufacturing of fiber optics and other optical communication tools that are used in naval and military science. In conclusion, it is therefore important to note that mirrors and glass have taken different historical evolutional roles and have over the past fifty years evolved to perform such complex issues such as communication and electrical production paramount in modern day engineering.
Cornell University. History of Glass. 1991. http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/TrashGoesToSchool/History.html (accessed September 17, 2013).
Enoch, Jay M. "History of Mirrors Dating Back 8000 Years." Optometry and Vision Science (University of California at Berkeley: School of Optometry) 83, no. 10 (2006): 775-81.
Knapp, Stephen. The Art of Glass: Integrating Architecture and Glass. Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers, 1998.
Melchior-Bonnet, Sabine. The Mirror: A History. New York: Routledge, 2001.
Miller, Jonathan. On reflection. London: National Gallery Publications Limited, 1998.
Pendergrast, Mark. Mirror, Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with Reflection. New York: Basic Books, 2003.
Stoddard, Whitney S. Art and Architecture in Medieval France; Medieval Architecture, Sculpture, Stained Glass, Manuscripts, the Art of the Church Treasuries. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
—. Monastery and Cathedral in France: Medieval Architecture, Sculpture, Stained Glass, Manuscripts, the Art of the Church Treasuries. Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1966.
Toman, Rolf, and Achim Bednorz. The Art of Gothic: architecture, sculpture, painting. Köln: Könemann, 1999.