Naturally occurring glass, such as volcanic glass obsidian, has been used by stone-age man for the production of weapons, ornaments and money.
The place and date of origin of manufactured glass is not completely known. According to Pliny the Elder, ancient Roman historian, Phoenician merchants deserve the credit for the discovery of glass in the region of Syria. The tradition is that a merchant ship laden with nitrum being moored at this place, the merchants were preparing their meal on the beach, and not having stones to prop up their pots, they used lumps of nitrum from the ship, which fused and mixed with the sands of the shore, and there flowed sreams of a new translucent liquid, and thus was the origin of glass...``. This story may not be true but Syria was one of the original centers of glassmaking and ancient Phoenician traders sold glass wear all through the Mediterranean countries. Egypt was another country in which glassmaking was known at an early time. It is believed that the earliest glass object was created around 3500BC in Egypt and Eastern Mesopotamia. The oldest specimens of glass are from Egypt and date back to 2000 B.C. In 1500BC the industry was well established in Egypt. After 1200BC the Egyptians learned to press glass into molds. In the 1st century glassblowing was discovered by Syrian craftsmen. Thanks to this development, everyone could to afford glass not only to the wealthy.
Safety glass has been in use since the early 20th century and it is used as alternative to regular glass in situations where heat would cause problems with regular glass or where it would be hazardous if the glass broke. It is used in automobile windows, windows in public buildings, glass cookware, oven doors and safety glasses.
Safety glass was discovered accidentally by Edouard Benedictus, a French scientist in 1903 when he dropped a glass flask while he was working in his laboratory. This flask had contained cellulose nitrate, a liquid plastic, which enabled it to keep more or less its original shape when it had been dropped.
In the early 1900s Austrian chemist, Rudolf Seiden, developed tempered glass. In 1905 John Crew invented type of safety glass using tree resin between two layers of glass. Benedictus patented "Triplex" in 1909. This new safety glass was strengthened with a layer of polyvinyl butyral between two layers of glass.
Safety glass found its first practical use in World War I as the lenses for gas masks. After the proven performance of the new glass under the extreme conditions of battle, safety glass's began to be used in car windshields.
In 1960s regulations for use and strength of safety glass were developed which drove the development of the safety glass industry.