The oldest glass objects produced by man were found in Egypt, and date back to around 3500 BC. At that time, they were considered luxury items and were made according to a process discovered later by sailors in Mesopotamia. Legend has it that when building their camp fires on the sandy beaches they used the blocks of natural sodium carbonate (natron blocks) that they used to carry around with them. They noticed that glass’ beads formed in the fire.
Glass started to be used as a container for food in about 1500 BC. The technique used was to mold bowls, flasks, and other cups around a structure of sand or clay that was taken off after cooling.
Glass manufacturing techniques also improved with the advancement of science and better technology.
By 1887 glass making developed from traditional mouth blowing to a semi-automatic process when Ashley introduced a machine capable of producing 200 bottles per hour in Castleford, Yorkshire - more than three times quicker than the previous production methods.
Twenty years later, in 1907, the first fully automated machine was developed in America by Michael Owens from major glass manufacturers Owens of Illinois, and used at its factory in Manchester, Illinois making 2,500 bottles per hour.
Today, glass making is a modern, hi-tech industry operating in a fiercely competitive global market where quality, design and service levels are critical to maintaining market share.
Modern glass plants are capable of making millions of glass containers a day in many different colors, but green, brown and clear remain the most popular.