20 Facts About Glass

At BottlesUp, we’re all about glass, beautiful glass that is environmentally responsible. So let us share 20 fun facts you may not have known about glass:

1. Before man figured out how to craft glass, nature was already making it. When lightning strikes sand, the heat sometimes fuses the sand into long, slender glass tubes called fulgurites. The intense heat of a volcanic eruption sometimes fuses rocks and sand into a glass called obsidian. In early times, people shaped obsidian into knives, arrowheads, jewelry, and money.
2. Around 3,000 B.C. is when we find the first real evidence of manufactured glass by people. The Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria were hubs of glassmaking. But you can thank an ancient Roman for the fact for glass in your everyday life. Because of their empire-making ways, Romans spread a more modern glass manufacturing knowledge to its newly conquered lands.

3. One of the most valuable glass art objects in the world is the Portland vase (pictured in this post), which was probably made in Rome about the beginning of the Christian Era, between AD 5 and AD 25.

The Portland Vase, made between AD 5 and AD 25.
The Portland Vase, made between AD 5 and AD 25.


4. The first the glass plant built in the United States was at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608.

5. In the 1850s, bottles and flasks were first used mainly for whiskey.

6. The screw-top Mason jar for home canning appeared in 1858.

7. Ordinary glass turns brown when exposed to nuclear radiation, so glass companies developed a special non-browning glass for use in observation windows in nuclear power plants.

8. Glass containers can be recycled—that is, broken up and then melted with silica sand, limestone, and soda ash to make glass for new containers. Glass can be recycled easily because it does not deteriorate with use or age.

9. The energy from recycling one glass bottle can power a computer for 30 minutes.

10. In the US today, about 80% of glass containers are recycled, compared with less than 25% of plastic containers.

11. By the end of 2013, glass manufacturers plan to use 50% recycled material in the production of new glass bottles. This step will save enough energy to power 45,000 households for a year, and 181,550 tons of waste from landfills each month.

12. Glass has the quickest turnaround of any curbside product, back on store shelves in as little as 30 days.

13. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and not lose its quality.

14. The glass container industry is worth US$5.5 billion dollars.

15. Recycled glass, also called cullet, requires a lower heating temperature than glass from raw materials, thus requiring 40 percent less energy.

16. Brown glass is used most often for food or drink containers, especially beer, because the amber tint reflects ultraviolet light and protects against spoilage.

17. In January of 2008, North Carolina became the first state to mandate that bars must recycle glass containers.

18. Making glass is like following a simple recipe of ingredients. The first 3 ingredients are in all glass: sand, soda ash and limestone, the fourth ingredient is the addition of chemicals to give glass their color.

19. Recycled glass conserves raw materials: one ton of recycled glass saves 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash and 380 pounds of limestone

20. September is’ Recycle Glass Month.’

Video: How Glass Is Recycled

Did you know glass is endlessly recyclable? How does that glass bottle you just recycled turn into a new glass products?  Check out this great video from PBS sharing just how companies turn our recycled glass into reusable materials.

Fun fact: did you know the energy from recycling one glass bottle could power a television for one whole hour? One more reason to recycle!

How Glass Gets Its Color

We’ve shared the history of glass and the reasons why glass ‘sparkles’, but one of the other common questions we get is how glass gets its color.  When Laurel creates a stained glass window or you buy a beautiful purple glass vase, the glass gets its color from simple chemistry.  By adding in certain minerals, pigments (which are mineral salts) or chemicals to the base of silica (SiO2) we can create the color, add to its intensity or combine it for unusual results.  When working with glass, not only do you need to be an artist, but you also need some basic chemistry knowledge. So for every 5th grader wondering if they’ll ever ‘need that stuff’, here’s proof that science can create beauty:

Color You Want                Chemical You Add

White                                     Antimony Oxides or Tin Compounds

Black                                      Manganese, Cobalt and Iron

Brown                                    Iron Oxides

Deep Blue                              Cobalt Oxide

Light Blue                              Copper Compounds

Green                                     Iron Oxides

Yellow Green                        Uranium Oxides (this one glows!)

Yellow                                    Lead with Antimony

Ruby Red                              Gold Chloride

Red                                         Selenium Compounds

Amber                                    Manganese Oxides

If you’ve got questions on how we get to a certain color, feel free to email us info(at)bottlesupglass(dot)com or come on by the studios on Bluffton.  We’d love to meet you.

2011 International Home & Housewares Show – Making Our Debut

BottlesUp booth at the 2011 International Home + Housewares Show

Today was Day One of the International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago, it’s a HUGE show. They’ve sold out the show – 60,000 attendees, 20,000 retail buyers from all over the world, 2,000 exhibitors. It’s easy to feel like a small fish in a very big ocean at this event, but the staff at IHA has been helpful, supportive and encouraging. It’s one team in the professional association industry that goes beyond and exceeds your expectations. But more on that later…

Today is the official launch of BottlesUp, a company more than 2 years in the making and a product that has the beautiful dual story of design and environmental responsibility. Did I mention we have the lowest carbon footprint in the bottle industry? We do. We’re located in a special invitation-only section called Discover Design, it’s 70 products that the association selected for to highlight their innovation, design and progressive efforts. IHA describes the Discover Design section as, “the area will highlight inspired design from around the globe and feature companies, many of whom are attending the Show for the first time, with creative products that push the envelope of the design spectrum.” Yes, that’s us they’re talking about. Again, we felt like a small fish in a very big ocean, yet, we knew we had a product and a story to share.

And today was that day to share it all. So here is our booth in iPhone photo form, our first ever trade show – I believe our introduction makes a handsome first impression. We made terrific connections with retailers who can bring our bottles to you. The bonus, every person we spoke to loved the bottles, loved the story of design and function and wanted to hear even more. It’s nice to be heard, welcomed and valued for the story you tell and the product you offer.

Video: Making a Better Glass Water Bottle

It’s taken nearly two years since Laurel’s first sketch to our final product’s debut coming in 12 short days. As we worked with industrial designers, mold-makers and glass makers, we went through many modfied versions. But our committment at every phase was to creating a bottle that was made with recycled glass, that highlighted the natural beauty of glass and that blended high design with a functional, resuable, responsible bottle.  I love this video we made showing our first bottles being made in an early phase. You’ll see the effort to heat the glass, mold the glass and refine it to finish.  It’s beautiful, don’t you agree?

bottle development bottlesuUp from bottlesUp.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
    Scroll to Top