Author(s): Alan Macfarlane
The story of the development of glass and the effects it had on every aspect of culture from astronomy and navigation to the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. A famous anthropologist and an industrialist have combined to write a tantalising history of glass and how it has driven much of the world's cultural development. A narrative history of glass, from discovery, through antiquity, the Enlightenment, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions to the present. It charts the history of the technology but also the enabling effects of glass on such aspects of civilization as experimental science, perspective, astronomy, zoology and all manner of scientific instrumentation - plus the central role of window-glass technology in making the colder north habitable. The authors show how the divergence in glass technology between East and West explains differential aspects of East/West development. The last chapter develops the intriguing thesis that glass is one of the principal factors in the development of Western civilization.