How Glass Windows Are Made
By [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Evan_S_Zimmerman/1412702]Evan S Zimmerman
You would be hard pressed to describe the history of glass making without describing the history of mankind. Throughout history, glass making has been necessary for developing a variety of items mankind uses every day. Glass windows have changed in countless ways over the centuries and as a civilization, we have only just begun to perfect this art form. The history of glass windows is actually much more complex than one might think. A brief look at how glass windows are made can tell us a lot about the evolution of technology, culture and our society.
Glass window history has come a long way and its metamorphosis can be directly seen with the progression in technology. Glass is made from raw materials, like sand, that are heated to become molten and cooled into different shapes and textures. The first materials that are considered glass were not even man made, but created from volcanoes. The natural process of molten lava cooling very quickly created a substance called obsidian, generally referred to as black glass. It is composed of many elements and minerals found in modern day manufactured glass.
Though documentation of how to make glass windows in ancient times is scarce, most experts agree that the first glass window-like objects were created during the time of the Egyptian empire. However, without the technology we have today, they were only able to make imperfect and opaque glass for decorative purposes. The ancient Romans also produced objects made from a type of flat glass, and they weren't used as windows, they were much different from the glass windows we are familiar with today. They were small, very thick and barely, if at all, transparent.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, better raw materials and more capable furnaces led to superior glass making. In the 12th century stained glass windows started springing up in many countries across Europe. Stained glass held an important role in history because they were able to depict stories for people, most of whom were illiterate. Throughout the following centuries and into the twentieth century, glass continued to be made clearer and more durable. With the invention of automobiles came a larger investment in glass manufacturing and changes to how glass windows are made.
Today, most contemporary residential and industrial windows are made with float glass. These flat panels of glass are made by allowing liquid glass to float and solidify on top of molten metal making an entirely solid and uniform piece. The most recent advancement in glass has been Low-E glass, a type of low-emission coating that maximizes energy efficiency in float glass and like our ancestors, continues to improve the quality of human living.
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