Thanks to its unique properties and ability to manipulate light, glass (continued from last week) lenses led to cameras and, thus, photography, videography, television and movies.
However, glass’ next biggest impact came from fiber glass. Fiber glass’ properties made it extremely useful for materials ranging from jet engines to computer chips. In time, scientists found ways to send signals via fiber glass and that, in turn, resulted in fiber optic cables which were much more efficient than copper wires. Thus, a string of fiber optic cables transports all information (cue: hundreds of selfies) between North America and Europe. Amazing!
All these advances have led to never ending jokes about the selfie epidemic. However, selfies aren’t a new thing. Drawing self-portrait was an obsession among artists. However, self-portraits didn’t exist till the 14th century – until our band of Murano glass wizards coated the back of glass with an alloy of tin and created the first mirror. Until the fourteenth century, it was impossible for people to see a clear image of themselves.
As with many things in modern life, it begins and ends with glass.
(Note: While glass making changed so much after it became mainstream, the reason the invention of glass took so long was because of the high temperatures required to make it. So, we ought to tip our hats to the inventors of the furnace who made the magic of glass possible. :))
The World Wide Web is woven together out of threads of glass. – Steven Johnson
Source and thanks to: How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson