Meteorite Slab

Natural glass is formed when certain types of rocks are subject to high heat followed by a rapid cooling. Events such as volcanic eruptions, meteorites, and lightning could help in the forming of glass. The history of glass begins with the beginning of time. Experts believe that cutting tools made from natural glass were used during the Stone Age. They used a volcanic glass known as hyalopsite or a glass known as tektikes which was formed by meteorites or other means. Glass has a long history and the uses and processes to make it have evolved over time.

The history of man made glass dates back to approximately to 3500 BC. Egyptians and inhabitants of Eastern Mesopotamia were making glass beads that were not transparent. Also around this time in history, people in Central Mesopotamia were using raw materials of glass to make glazes for their pots and other vessels.

Pieces of glass vases have been found in Mesopotamia that date back to 1600 BC. This begins the history of glass being made in hollow production. It is believed that around this time, hollow glass production had also begun in China and Greece.

Egyptians began making glass pots by dipping a core mold of sand into hot glass. They would turn the mold so the glass would stick to it. While it was still hot, they would roll it on a stone slab to smooth it. This process started about 1500 BC.

Syrian craftsmen discovered the craft of glass blowing between 27 BC and 14 AD. In the history of glass, this was a major change. It increased the variety of shapes and containers that could be made with glass. They used a metal tube that was long and thin. This process is still used by glass blowers today.

The discovery of clear glass occurred abut 100 AD. Romans start putting glass windows in prestigious buildings and villas. At this time, Roman glass was being exported all across Europe and the Mediterranean. Roman glass has even been discovered in China.

In the 11th century, a method for producing sheet glass was discovered by a German craftsman. It would produce flat pieces that were small in diameter. The glass pieces were put together with lead. In the history of glass, this was the beginning of stained glass.

Pure crystal appeared in the latter part of the 15th century when craftsman started using quartz and potash in the production of glass. The history of glass progressed when an English glassmaker named George Ravenscroft patented his new glass in 1674. He developed lead crystal by using lead oxide in place of potash. Lead crystal was easier to cut and engrave in addition to being brilliant.

Towards the end of the Industrial Revolution, technology for mass production of glass came into play. Freidrich Siemens invented the tank furnace. The tank furnace was a replacement for the pot furnace. It allowed large amounts of molten glass to be continuously produced. Another invention was the automatic bottle blowing machine that was invented by Michael Owens at the end of the 19th century. In 1923, a gob feeder was developed. It supplied more uniform sized gobs at a quicker pace for bottle production. In 1925, an IS (individual section) machine was being used with the gob feeder. This allowed numerous production of bottles from one machine. This idea is still used on systems today.

In 1914, a man from Belgium named Fourcault, discovered a way to draw a continuous sheet of glass from a tank. In 1917, an American named Colburn discovered another way to draw sheet glass. This process was picked up by the Libbey Owens' company. There was also the Pittsburgh process that has been used since 1928 that made the Fourcault and Colburn systems better. It is still used today.

The history of glass has early beginnings and with the use of computers, the production is even quicker and more accurate today. Now being used in solar panels, uses for glass are probably still waiting to be discovered.

Steve Weber is a home hobbyist who works with glass, metal, and clay. On his website he offers more info about glass history

How will I know if we have found a meteorite?

My dad found two strange rocks today. One of them is a deformed semi-circle that looks broken off of something because one half of it is flat. It is pearly-green-gold-brown in color and appears to consist of many small slabs of material smashed together. We tried magnets and it didn't stick at anywhere to it. It's like..metallic-nickel in color..but a bit brown-green.. Another one, found close to the first, is similar in color. It's a slab though, flat. One side of it has shiny gold specks in it. The outer-sides of it have metallic-looking fibers in them. The back side has indentions that look like shell remains. My dad's metal detector picked up nickel and gold in the flat one. How do we know?

Meteorites can be examined by experts and an opinion of their origin will take a bit of time in some cases. Not all meteorites have enough iron in them to be magnetic and some like chondrites are unique enough to require professional examination. I don't know how a metal detector can pick up nickel and gold but maybe he has one that can. Something with a lot of slabs of material is probably sedimentary in origin and not likely a meteorite. Consult with a professional. You probably can take pictures, in great detail and a professional meteorologist can tell you if the rocks are worth considering as they have seen a lot of meteorites.




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Filed under: Meteorites & Tektites