Glass Bottles Containers
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Although glass-making began in 7000 B.C. as an offshoot of pottery, it was
first industrialized in Egypt in 1500 B.C. Made from base materials
(limestone, soda, sand and silica), which were in plentiful supply, all
ingredients were simply melted together and molded while hot. Since that
early discovery, the mixing process and the ingredients have changed very
little, but the molding techniques have progressed dramatically.
first, ropes of molten glass were coiled into shapes and fused together. By
1200 B.C., glass was pressed into molds to make cups and bowls. When the
blowpipe was invented by the Phoenicians in 300 B.C., it not only speeded
production but allowed for round containers. Colors were available from the
beginning, but clear, transparent glass was not discovered until the start
of the Christian Era. During the next 1000 years, the process spread
steadily, but slowly, across Europe.
The split mold, which was developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, further
provided for irregular shapes and raised decorations. The identification of
the maker and the product name could then be molded into the glass container
as it was manufactured. As techniques were further refined in the 18th and
19th centuries, prices of glass containers continued to decrease. Owens
invented the first automatic rotary bottle-making machine, patented in 1889.
Suddenly, glass containers of all shapes and sizes became economically
attractive for consumer products, and from the early 1900s until the late
1960s glass containers dominated the market for liquid products. A typical
modern bottle-making machine automatically produces 20,000 bottles per day.
While other packaging products, such as metals and plastics, were gaining
popularity in the 1970s, packaging in glass tended to be reserved for high-
value products. As a type of "rigid packaging," glass has many
uses today. High weight, fragility and cost have reduced the glass markets
in favor of metal and plastic containers. Still, for products that have a
high quality image and a desire for high flavor or aroma protection, glass
is an effective packaging material. The packaging glass used today is the
only type of glass accepted in US recycling programs.