How Much Do You Know About Glass Art? - 101 Facts About Glass Art Pieces

by Marshall | Art Exhibits

Did you know that producing glass is very easy? The main material for creating anything with glass is sand!  How much do you know about Glass Art? Test your knowledge on the history of glass art, how this amazing medium is created, and even learn some of the amazing histories of glassmaking, which has been used for over 6000 thousand years! We know finding facts and figures about Glass Art Pieces can be time-consuming and frustrating, so we put together this list of the top 101 facts, notes, and statistics so you can easily reference them and refer back to them any time in the future.  This space is constantly changing, so if you see a fact that is not up-to-date, feel free to let us know. And if you know a stat that we should add, let us know that too!

1. Glass is Made from Sand.

Sand is mixed with lime and soda ash and heated to extremely high temperatures to make glass. Glass is formed when the liquid combination cools down again.

2. Adding Minerals to Glass Changes its Color.

Different colored glass can be made by mixing various minerals with sand, lime, and soda ash. Adding nickel oxide to the mix, for example, results in the violet glass.

3. Glass Can Be Formed by Lightning.

When sand is struck by lightning, glass can naturally develop due to the high temperatures.

4. When Glass Breaks, the Cracks Move at 3000mph.

That's five times quicker than the average airplane, which flies at 575 miles per hour.

5. Glass Windows Were Invented in the 17th Century.

People used to make windows out of flattened animal horns before then.

6. Glass is Not Solid.

Glass, contrary to popular belief, is neither a solid, a liquid, nor a gas. Glass cools to become an "amorphous solid," which allows molecules within the glass to move around freely.

7. The “Portland Vase” is One of the Most Valuable Glass Art Pieces in the World.

The Portland Vase is thought to have been created in Rome between AD 5 and AD 25. The Vase is currently housed in the British Museum, where it has remained for more than 200 years.

8. Glass is 100% Recyclable.

Glass may be recycled indefinitely while maintaining its quality and purity.

9. Volcanic Lava Can Turn into Glass.

When hot lava cools quickly after being expelled from a volcano, obsidian, a type of natural glass, can develop.

10. Glass Can Take 1 Million Years to Decompose.

Glass is one of the most durable and tough man-made materials available.

11. People have been manufacturing glass since 3600 BCE.

In the past, people used natural materials to make glass. For example, they would heat up sand until it turned into a liquid. Then, they would let it cool and turn it into solid glass.

12. Scientists classified glass as an amorphous solid.

It is because it possesses a rigid, crystalline-like structure but lacks the repeating atomic pattern of crystalline solids

13. Optical fibers are made from glass.

This type of glass is also known as toughened glass. tempered glass is around 4 times stronger than normal ones.

14. Glass can also be formed due to many natural phenomena like a lightning, volcanic eruption, or even the impact of a meteorite.

15. Manufacturers use various metal oxides and sulfides of metals to obtain color in the glass.

The color of the glass depends on the oxide additives the manufacturer mixes with the glass. For example, Cupric Oxide will give a turquoise color; Manganese dioxide will produce a purple color; Cobalt oxide will offer deep-blue color, and Cadmium sulfide will produce a red color.

16. Have you heard of bulletproof glass?

This specific form of glass is utilized in a variety of buildings, stores, cars, and other places where security is paramount.

17. The first glass factory in the USA was established in 1608.

It was founded near the Virginia town of Jamestown. This factory was also the first known factory in any English colony in North America.

18. Frosted glass is another very useful type of glass.

This type of glass is commonly utilized in the production of light bulbs.

19. The ‘Corning Museum of Glass’ is known for its collection of over 50, 000 glass objects.

This is currently the world's largest museum dedicated to glass. It was founded in 1951.

20. King Charles VI was a ruler of France who is known for suffering from a strange glass delusion.

The king would think that he was made of glass, so he disallowed other people from touching him.

21. China is the biggest producer and exporter of glass and glassware in the world.

In recent years, the average annual output of glass in China has exceeded 60 million tons, accounting for more than one-third of the world's total output.

22. Earlier people would use a special technique to produce glass named ‘Glassblowing’.

The Syrian craftsmen are said to have originated this technique around 100 BC.

23. In around 1500 BC, craftsmen in Egypt started to manufacture hollow glass containers.

Oils and ointments were stored in these containers.

24. Glass is widely used in the technology field.

In telecommunications technology, for example, glass is used to manufacture fiber optics. Microscopes, telescopes, cameras, lenses, and other optical instruments all employ glass. Glass is also found in laser printers, optical discs, laser diodes, and photocopying machines, among other things.

25. In modern days, glass has become important building material.

Glass is now used for more than just windows and doors. Glass is now utilized in both external and internal walls of buildings, thanks to the emergence of new glassmaking processes such as coating, lamination, and double glazing.

26. ‘Obsidian’ is a particular type of glass is formed in volcanoes

It is an igneous rock, which means that it is made from solidified lava or magma. Obsidian has a very high silica content, which makes it extremely hard and brittle.

27.  ‘Impactite Glass’ type of glass is formed during the impact of meteorites on Earth.

They are characterized by their high water content, low viscosity, and unique chemical composition. Impact glasses are very rare and are found in only a few places on Earth, such as the Ries Crater in Germany and the Sudbury Basin in Canada.

28. It is reported that the first (true synthetic) glass was made somewhere in Lebanon, Syria, or ancient Egypt.

In the early years, man-made glass was used for making simple vessels, jewelry, and ornaments.

29. The word ‘Glass’ came from the late-Latin word ‘Glesum‘.

It refers to a glossy thing that is translucent.

30. Glass is one of the most sustainable materials on Earth.

Even as far back as 6000 years ago, archeologists have discovered glass-making artifacts.

31. Glass requires around 1 million years to decompose completely.

As a result, glass is not as environmentally beneficial as other materials. As a result, all countries around the world should place an emphasis on glass recycling.

32. The Portland Vase is one of the most valuable art objects made of glass.

It is thought to have been created in Rome at the beginning of the Christian era.

33. On average, approximately 330 glass jars and bottles are used by every family in the United Kingdom each year.

34. Brown glass is mostly used to contain food and drinks.

The amber colour reflects ultra-violet rays, keeping foods and beverages from spoiling.

35. The glass container industry is worth more than $5 billion.

It employs more than 1 million people in the United States alone. There are countless uses for glass containers, from holding beverages to storing food.

36. Glass can be dissolved with hydrofluoric acid.

When glass dissolves in hydrofluoric acid, it breaks down into its component parts: silicon dioxide and water.

37. When sound waves hit thin-glass goblets, they vibrate due to a phenomenon known as resonance.

You can experiment with this phenomenon by filling a glass with water and then running your finger around the rim. The pitch of the glass will change as you change the amount of water in it. This is because the vibrating glass is changing its size and shape, which changes the pitch of the sound it produces.

38. September is the official ‘Recycle Glass Month’.

This is the time of year when we are all encouraged to recycle as much glass as possible in order to help preserve our environment.

39. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can provide power to a 100-watt bulb for close to one hour.

40. Instructions to make glass were first documented in Egypt around 1500 BC

Before they were burned, glass was used as a glaze for ceramic artifacts.

41. In 1000 AD, the Egyptian city of Alexandria was the most important center of glass manufacture.

The city founded by Alexander the Great around 332 BC, became an important hub of culture and learning. The city's glassmakers produced a wide variety of glass products, including windows, bottles, and lamps.

42. Early in the 17th century, the first window glass was manufactured in Britain.

It was broadsheet glass, which was blown into a long balloon and then cut off at both ends, leaving a cylinder to be divided and flattened.

43. Bohemian glass, or Bohemia crystal, is a decorative glass produced in regions of Bohemia and Silesia.

Now in the current state of the Czech Republic, since the 13th century. It has a centuries-long reputation for great quality, craftsmanship, beauty, and often creative designs that have earned it international recognition.

44. Tiffany glass refers to the many and varied types of glass developed and produced from 1878 to 1933 at the Tiffany Studios in New York, by Louis Comfort Tiffany and a team of other designers, including Frederick Wilson and Clara Driscoll.

The largest glass sculpture measures 9 by 20 meters (29 ft 6 in by 65 ft 7 in) and was created by Dale Chihuly at the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on 15 October 1998.

45. Bertil Vallien is internationally acclaimed for his sand-casted sculptural glass boats.

The three-meter-long ship is Kosta Boda's most costly glass sculpture to date, earning it the moniker "One-Million-Dollar Boat."

46. The Sun is the artwork by Dale Chihuly

Which resembles a tree-sunburst hybrid, is made up of over 1,300 hand-blown glass parts that are skilfully braided together to make a cohesive whole.

47. Spectrum Cube features six optical lenses and architectural colored glass lines the core of the piece making it a cube sculpture like nothing you’ve ever seen before. 

The optical lenses in this piece are exceptional, however they allow you to see the core at magnified angles. The Spectrum Cube refracts light, reflects it, and produces colored shadows in the process.

48. The skylight of the Palau de la Música Catalana is a three-dimensional masterpiece that is accented by the stained-glass windows set in arches that line both sides of the main concert hall.

49. The most glass bottles blown over in one minute is 34 and was achieved by Deng Jun (China) on the set of CCTV – Guinness World Records Special in Beijing, China on 14 January 2016.

50. La Sagrada Família is one of Barcelona’s most famous destinations.

Designed by the master of modernism Antoni Gaudí in the late 19th century.

51. Almost all windshields are made of laminated glass

Laminated glass is two layers of glass with a plastic layer in between. The plastic layer is usually clear, but can also be tinted for privacy or to reduce glare. When the windshield breaks, the plastic holds the glass together so it doesn't shatter into pieces that could hurt someone in the car.

52. 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.

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

They're long-lasting, sturdy, and never smear or stain. They are not only a superior investment, but they are also more environmentally friendly than previous chemically coated press boards. While tempered glass is not currently recyclable, the boards are virtually indestructible and only require replacement on rare occasions.

54. Glass can change color if exposed to radiation

Glass can be exposed to different types of radiation in order to change its color. For example, gamma rays can be used to turn the glass a deep blue color. This is because the gamma rays cause the molecules in the glass to vibrate at a high frequency, which changes the way that light is able to pass through the glass.

55. Glass Windows Were Invented in the 17th Century.

People used to make windows out of flattened animal horns before then.

56. A small breath of air is sufficient for blowing glass.

Glassblowers just need to produce enough air to blow out a candle or fill a balloon when blowing through a blowpipe.

57. Universities hire professional scientific glassblowers.

Many universities save time and money by using on-site glassblowers to create and repair scientific laboratory equipment rather than purchasing glass from outside sources.

58. Molten glass is 2,100°F.

Glassblowers work with extremely heated glass, which can reach temperatures of above 2,000°F. It's the same temperature as lava from a volcano.

59. Glassblowing as a process hasn’t changed much since the 1600s.

Glassblowers at Jamestown, Virginia, in the early 17th century worked with glass in much the same way that artists do today.

60. Glass manufacturers say that the ideal chemical composition of glass is 10% lime, 15% soda, and 75% silica or sand.

61. A large amount of glass is used in the automobile industry in backlights, windscreens, and some other lightweight glass in ships, cars, and aircraft.

The use of glass in the automotive industry has a number of benefits. Glass is a clear material that allows drivers to see out of the car while driving. Glass also transmits light well, making it ideal for use in backlights and windshields.

62. The first-ever glass factory in the United States was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608.

The factory produced window glass, bottles, and other glassware. The company was later acquired by the British Crown in 1621.

63. In 2020 a total of 690 billion glass bottles and containers were manufactured in the world.

64. Glass is an excellent material for making household items such as glass, plates, storage bottles because glass is chemically inert.

65. Laminated glass is constructed from two piles of glass that are bonded together with interlayers to form a permanent bond.

It is typically used as a safety glass, or when it is necessary to see through the glass without distortion.

66. Laminated glass is harder to break due to the interlayer bond.

Laminated glass is ideal for high-impact areas or areas where security is a concern.

67. Fiberglass is made of fine, solid rods of glass

Each one of these rods measures less than one-twentieth of the width of a human hair.

68. The fiberglass can also be used like wool or cotton fibers to make glass yarn, tape, cloth, and mats

Due to its strength, flexibility, and resistance to weathering.

69. Fiberglass is also used for electrical insulation, chemical filtration, and to make firefighter suits.

Fiberglass has a variety of applications in the modern world. It is commonly used as insulation in both homes and businesses, due to its excellent thermal properties. It is also an effective filter material, able to remove impurities from water and other liquids. In addition, fiberglass is often used to create firefighter suits, which provide protection from heat and flames.

70. Fiberglass is combined with plastic and used in airplane wings, body parts of automobiles, and boat hulls.

It is extremely strong and resistant to weather and chemicals. It is also used in making pipes, telephone poles, and roofing materials.

71. Foam glass is filled with many tiny cells of gas.

A thin glass wall separates one cell from the others. It floats on water and is light.

72. Foam glass is used as an insulator in buildings, steam pipes, and chemical equipment.

73. Heat-resistant glass is high in silica and contains boric acid.

The main raw materials used to make heat-resistant glass are silica sand, soda ash, limestone and dolomite. Heat-resistant glass usually has a low expansion coefficient and a high melting point.

74. Heat-resistant glass expands slightly when heated and does not crack at high temperatures.

75. Heat-resistant glass is used to manufacture cookware,  household, laboratory, and industrial equipment.

It is a durable glass that can withstand high temperatures and is therefore ideal for applications where heat resistance is required.

76. Heat Reflective Glass has two panes of glass separated by a layer of argon gas that improves insulation.

The low-emissivity (low-e) coating on the glass reflects heat back into the building in winter and deflects solar heat in summer.

77. Heat Reflective Glass is used to make windows of apartments and other buildings.

Heat reflective glass is an excellent choice for windows that receive direct sunlight, as it can help to keep your home or office cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

78. Heat Reflective Glass helps keep your home warm during winter and cool during summer.

Heat reflective glass can also help to reduce energy costs by keeping your home or office at a comfortable temperature year-round.

79. Glass Ceramic can withstand very high temperatures and can take a sudden change in temperatures without breaking, and is resistant to chemical erosion.

Glass Ceramic is made from a combination of silica and other minerals, which gives it its durability and strength.

80. Glass Ceramics is used in cookware, turbine engines, electronic equipment, and nose cones of guided missiles.

81. Crystal Glass is a fine quality glass. 

It is made from silica, lead oxide, soda, or potash.

82. Crystal Glass is used to make wine glasses and other decorative ornaments.

Crystal Glass is a beautiful, elegant, and timeless addition to any home. It is perfect for vases, bowls, cups, platters, and more. And it is extremely durable.

83. Glass can be recycled many times without the loss of its original properties.

Recycled glass is used in the production of new bottles, containers, and other glass products.Glass recycling is the process of turning waste glass into usable products.

84. Cullet is glass that has been crushed and melted down.

Cullet is an important ingredient in the manufacturing of new glass products. It can be used as a raw material or as a flux, which helps to lower the melting temperature of the batch mix and improve working conditions in the furnace. Cullet also allows for better control of the finished product’s color and clarity.

85. Recycling glass reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that recycling one ton of glass can save more than a ton of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

86. Fulgurite Glass forms when cloud-to-ground lightning occurs.

The intense heat from the lightning melts sand or rock and fuses it into a natural glass tube. Fulgurite is found on every continent and is relatively common in the United States, especially in Florida.

87. Meteoritic Glass or Tektite glass forms due to the collision of a meteorite with the earth's surface.

The resulting high-velocity impact melts the ground and hurls fragments of rock and dirt into the air. As these materials fall back to earth, they cool rapidly and form a natural glass. Tektites are named for their place of origin; tektos is Greek for "molten."

88. In 1871, William Pilkington invented the machine that allowed large sheets of glass to be made.

The machine that Pilkington invented was a float glass process, which is still used today to produce large sheets of high-quality glass. The float glass process involves floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal, usually tin. This allows the glass to cool evenly and creates a smooth surface.

89. The soda-lime glass is the most commonly used type of glass.

It is made of silica sand, soda ash, limestone, dolomite, and recycled glass.

90. Modern glass variants are produced from float glass.

The invention changed the construction industry and resulted in the widespread use of glass in architecture.

91. Dale Chihuly is world-renowned for incorporating his glass sculpture art into a variety of indoor and outdoor environments.

One of his most famous pieces is the "Mille Fiori" which means "thousand flowers." The sculpture is on display at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

92. The intricate art of glass painting was once the most dominant form of painting in Europe.

Glass painting can be used to create beautiful works of art, or simply to add a touch of color to plain glassware. The medium is very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.

93. Stained glass was installed in Catholic churches as a way of telling stories from the Bible through images instead of text.

The artform flourished in Europe during the Middle Ages, with some of the most famous examples coming from Gothic cathedrals such as Notre Dame and Westminster Abbey.

94. Colored glass is achieved by adding metallic oxide powders to molten glass.

The oxide powder fuses with the glass to form a new compound, which imparts color. The type and amount of oxide used determines the final color of the glass.

95. The manufacture of stained glass is a recognized art form

Stained glass artists are usually trained through an apprenticeship or at a specialized art school

96. Stained glass, or ‘art glass’ is most common in places of worship, but can also be found in other significant buildings, both institutional and commercial, and in private homes.

97. Glassblowing is often a team effort.

The person who actually forms the glass into a shape is called the gaffer, while their assistants are called "off-hand" workers.

98. Glassblowing requires incredibly high temperatures.

The furnace must be kept at around 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,149 degrees Celsius) to melt the glass. The molten glass is then gathered on the end of a long metal blowpipe.

99. Glass art must be cooled very slowly

It is to avoid cracking or shattering

100. You won’t die if you inhale through a blowpipe.

The air has time to cool before reaching your lips since the blowpipe is made of steel and the tube is relatively long and narrow.

101. Annealing is a critical step in the creation of glass art

The ideal annealing temperature for most types of glass is between 520 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit (270 to 345 degrees Celsius). By cooling the glass slowly, the artist can avoid any thermal shock that could damage the piece.

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