Answered By: Regan Brumagen
Last Updated: Nov 28, 2016     Views: 92

In his book, Glass of the Roman Empire, David Whitehouse explains that: 
"In the mid-first century B.C., glassmaking was transformed by the discovery that glass can be blown. As a result of this discovery, by the time of Christ, glass had ceased to be exclusively a luxury item and craftsmen were producing inexpensive objects for everyday use. 'At Rome,' wrote Strabo, 'a bowl or a drinking cup may be purchased for a copper coin.' Neither Strabo nor Pliny (the writer who tells us the most about Roman glassmaking) reveals where the new technique originated, and we must rely on archeological discoveries to determine where and when it occurred. Some of the earliest blown glass known to us comes from Syria and Palestine, and finds from Israel strongly suggest that glassblowing was discovered about 50 B.C. From this moment, glassmakers in the eastern Mediterranean were able to make thin-walled, transparent vessels quickly and in a vast range of shapes and sizes. The increase in production is evident from the large numbers of glass fragments found in excavations of Roman sites and from the number of times glass was mentioned by Roman writers in the first century A.D." p. 6. 

Whitehouse, David. Glass of the Roman Empire. Corning, NY: The Corning Museum of Glass, 1988. 

There is a great deal of controversy about the history of the development of the blowpipe. I attached a list of resources that provide additional information. 

If you wish to obtain copies of any of these items, please contact your local library. The Rakow Research Library is a member of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC); your library can contact us through OCLC online. We send copies of articles and second copies of our books through Interlibrary Loan.