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Glass Making

The following text is from the book - Wonders of glass-making in all ages by Alexandre Sauzay. Published in 1870. The original text can be found at google books by searching the title.

PREFACE. Among the discoveries due to chance and perfected by man's intellect, the invention of Glass is certainly one of the most important.

Besides the fact that Glass satisfies a considerable number of our most ordinary wants, it is also to its power that we must attribute in a great degree the ever progressive march of science; and indeed it is by multiplying indefinitely the strength of man's organ of sight, that Glass lays bare the most hidden works of creation to his investigation.

Thanks to its aid, there are no longer any impenetrable mysteries for science; by degrees everything is seen, studied, explained, and analyzed. Two examples, taken from the extremes of creation, the infinitely great and imperceptibly small, will sufficiently prove this. The Telescope, which brings the heavenly bodies within the range of the astronomer's study; and the Microscope, which may be said to be still more useful, inasmuch as it is the light of all natural science, and the source of the most curious and important discoveries. It shows us much, the existence of which we did not even suspect; it opens a new world hefore Ub; the most imperceptible atom of nature assumes a body and increases so much in size, that where there was apparently nothing we see myriads of beings.

Both these examples certainly deserve the name of Marvels; but they are not the only wonders worked by Glass, which obeys every wish of man, and lends itself to all his wants and fancies.

Does not our every-day life profit by its benefits? Light is admitted to our houses by means of glass, which yet excludes the inclemencies of the seasons; our forms are reproduced in looking-glasses; glass lustres double the lights in a chandelier by their numerous reflections; and if we glance into a dining-room, glass is still before us in the shape of decanters and drinking-glasses of pure and graceful shapes.

So many different appliances are none the less marvellous because we are accustomed to see them every day, and they do not the less deserve to have each of them their story told. This is the work we have undertaken.

If, notwithstanding our researches, and all the care we have taken in their classification, the reader still finds something forgotten, or even some errors (and we are far from thinking our work is exempt from them), he must kindly forgive them in consideration of all that our subject embraces.

The fear which obliges us to this avowal will surprise no one when we say that one of the most learned men of our period, M. Peligot, treating the question of Glass under its different chemical and practical forms, says to his readers: "I am under no illusion as to the imperfections of my work,* but I hope that allowance will be made for the difficulties found in collecting the scattered documents on glass working, a manufacture which lives in tradition, which avoids publicity, and on which, if I except the articles in encyclopaedias and chemical treatises, no complete work has been attempted for more than a century and a half."

If, through an excess of modesty, M. Peligot claims the reader's indulgence for himself, who has certainly less need of it than any one else, how can we, at the commencement of this book, forbear to solicit a greater and more necessary indulgence?

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