Most art historians who have tried to trace the history of glass blowing and the making of glass vessels such as crystal glass are quick to mention the Roman connection in making glass vases a common household name. That is largely because trade within the vast Roman Empire in the classical age has led to the development of techniques that made it possible for glass vases and other glass items to be manufactured on a wider scale.
Long before the Romans rose into power, glass vases and other vessels have been used for purely functional purposes. Legend has it that the Phoenicians were responsible for the discovery of glass manufacturing, but proofs of its earlier existence have been found in Mesopotamia as early as three thousand years ago. Manufacturing glass vases and other vessels back then is a tedious process. Known as the core-form method, threads of molten glass are wrapped around a bag of sand or dung tied around a rod. Once the glass has dried, the bag is scraped out. The tedious process of making glass vases and glass vessels has limited the use of such glass products to the rich and to the members of the noble class. In Egypt, only the pharaoh, the high priests, nobles and the rich merchants may possess such glass items.
During the time of the Romans, however, the technique now known as glass blowing has been invented. Not only did glass blowing increase the speed and efficiency of the process by which glass vases and other glass vessels are made, it also improved the quality of the finished product. The process allowed more people, not just the nobles and the rich people, to own a glass vase or any other glass vessel.
Other than this, glass blowing also opened avenues of creativity for glass manufacturers. The cuts made on the mold used for making glass vases and glass vessels left imprints on the finished product, and the cuts could be made in different designs. Early Roman glass blowers also learned to put inlay on the glass vases that would enhance the beauty of the glass.
The Roman connection is an important aspect in the history of creating glass vases. It is the catalyst that enabled the art to grow and spread.