History of Glass

The first blown glass can be dated to the first century AD and originated in the eastern Mediterranean. Glass blowing then spread quickly across Europe, mainly in the Roman Empire where it experienced a blossoming with many still unsurpassed masterpiece. An early glass blowing center was around the Rhine Valley in present Germany and eastern France. From this area, there was an extensive trade in glass, and many archeological finds from the 500’s through the Viking Age until the early Middle Ages derived from this area.

After the disintegration of the Roman Empire, there was a decline in the glass area. Many huts were lost while new emerged in other places but the quality of both glass and craftsmanship rarely reached up to the previous level. During the Middle Ages, began a new golden age for the glass.

Glassworks occurred in many places around Europe, often in wooded areas where there was access to fuel for glass furnaces. For this reason, the glass from this period is often called waldglas – a.k.a. forest glass. Because of the not quite perfect raw material, the glass usually got a color of greenish hues. The medieval glass are often decorated with knobs, glass threads, and other decorations made directly in the foundry. Even if painted glass did exist, it is only after the Middle Ages as other decorations became popular. The forms became more simple while the engraving, grinding and painting on glass began to increase.

In Sweden, the first huts came in the 1500’s but it was only in the 1700’s that there were glass manufacture on a larger scale.