THE TRANSPARENT ADVANTAGES OF GLASS

Glass was invented by an anonymous volcano many centuries before we had calendars so there’s no specific date. Anyway, some molten rock flowed down the side of that mountain, was cooled when it entered a nearby ocean, and a crude type of glass called obsidian was formed. That process was never patented so you can make your own crude glass now if you live near an active volcano with an ocean view. But please be careful. Use potholders.

We should thank God for giving us that volcanic hint. Who would have thought of making something transparent out of rocks? And if the Egyptians and Romans hadn’t improved the recipe later, the world would be a different place today. For instance, if we didn’t have glass windows our electric light bills would be sky high and what would the light bulbs be made out of ? And if there weren’t any drinking glasses we might have to sip our beer directly from the keg. I tried that once in my youth. It’s quite strenuous and messy.

Glass has become part of our vocabulary. Webster lists crown glass, cut glass, Depression glass, lead glass, looking glass, safety glass and glass ceilings. There was much more but I had to stop. I was getting glassy-eyed. There are also old sayings about glass like “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw tantrums.” Maybe I got that wrong.

After our creative ancestors perfected glass they started to work on mirrors. Can you imagine a world without mirrors? Stone Age people got glimpses of themselves looking into rivers on calm days. They must have wondered who that was looking up at them from the depths. Eventually they got the idea and maybe brought shells full of water into their caves that they looked into while shaving or putting on lipstick. Much later others made hand-held mirrors out of polished metal. Modern glass mirrors were invented 200 years ago in Germany.

Today we take the miracle of mirrors for granted and we shouldn’t. They give us live pictures of outselves without requiring wires, batteries, monthly fees or passwords. Take a moment and think about the wonders of glass and mirrors. Please reflect on it.

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