In the whole range of human invention, it would be difficult to point
to a more ingenious or interesting result than the Manufacture of Glass.
"Although perfectly transparent itself," says a popular illustrator of
its history, "not one the materials of which it is made, partakes of
that quality;" a combination, which may, at the period of its invention,
have been as astounding as the identity of charcoal and the diamond,
established by the chemical philosopher of our time.
The art of making Glass is reputed to have
been discovered by accident. This inference is strengthened by the fact,
that it is scarcely possible to excite a fire of sufficient heat for
metallurgical operation without vitrifying part of the bricks or stones of
the furnace. Of such imperfect vitrification, the "Glass" occasionally
dug up on the sites of buildings destroyed by great conflagrations,
is a specimen.