Glass and glass blowing are a beautiful, ancient art form that originated in Syria in the 1st century BC. You read that right. People have been blowing glass since before biblical times. With the development of the Roman Empire, glass blowing became a global practice. While most glass blowing has been used to make drinking glasses, decorative pieces, and utilitarian necessities such as light bulbs and vacuum tubes, there have always been outliers in the glass blowing world. These outliers have been the innovators that made glass blowing what it is today. However, we’re not going to focus on the boring stuff. Instead, we’re taking you on a journey through the evolution of glass creations to show you some of the most weird products that glass blowers have been compelled to create over the years. After all, glass blowing is an art and since when have artists ever been boring?
Glass Eyeballs – Sure, glass eyes may not seem like the strangest thing that could be made from glass, but believe it or not, they were and still are widely necessary for those with missing eyes that wish to live a normal life. Today, glass eyes are made to look so realistic, most people can rarely tell them apart from natural eyes. In fact, for many people that need glass eyes, the glass artists can often make near identical replicas in shape, color, and weight. This means that people who need them can live their lives with elevated confidence and normalcy. At the end of the day, it may be difficult for some to picture a drawer full of eyeballs staring back up at them without being weirded out, but glass eye makers are doing a service to those in need, so we think they’re beautiful.
- Glass Clothing – No, there’s no need to grab your, well… glasses. You read that correctly. People are now even using glass to make clothing. Sure, you might not be seeing glass jackets in stores any time soon, but rest assured that glass clothing most definitely exists. The way that glass clothing is made is by creating tiny, individual glass chain links and painstakingly connecting each one to those around it to make a flexible, fabric-like material. There are even solid glass hats to go with them. These pieces may be a novelty and there aren’t many people who are in the market for clear clothes that cost an arm and a leg. However, for those that really want to make a statement at their next public event (and have thousands of dollars to spare) they may want to think about picking up a glass evening gown or blazer on the way.
- Glass Couches – It may not seem as comfortable as a traditional piece of furniture (and likely isn’t) glass couches are here and here to stay. Until it breaks, that is. But until that sad and potentially dangerous day, you can add a transparent piece of futuristic looking glass furniture to your empty living room. These pieces are insanely big for blown glass pieces and the price tags often reflect that. However, there is no way that it doesn’t become the main conversation starter at your next house party. People won’t be able to keep their eyes (glass or otherwise) off it. You probably won’t be able to either, considering you likely dropped a pretty penny on it and will want to make sure nobody does anything to possibly break it.
- Bulletproof Glass – While bulletproof glass may not seem weird to most people, the fact that it exists at all is crazy to us. Especially considering the number of times us stoners have broken our favorite pieces just by accidentally knocking them over. Come to think of it, there should be a bulletproof glass bong. The truly weird thing about bulletproof glass is how it’s made. Through a process called lamination (like the baking term used in croissant making) layers of tempered glass designed to shatter and absorb impact are stacked together with layers of polycarbonate material that help stop bullets in their tracks. Popular uses for bulletproof glass include windows in prisons, banks, businesses, and even some schools. Some other places you can find bulletproof glass include windows on cars used by political elites and organized crime families.
- Glass Boats – If you’ve spent any amount of time on Instagram lately, you’ve likely at least scrolled past a video or two of a glass boat floating through crystal clear water. This style of boat has recently become popular for tourists to be able to experience ocean life without even getting wet. However, the use of glass bottom boats predates the Instagram craze. Many fishermen have been utilizing glass windows on the floor of their boats to be able to locate their catch more efficiently without having to do as much guess work. Many crab and lobster fishermen use glass bottom boats to scout out the perfect place to lay their traps. While it seems to offer a legitimate purpose at times, going the extra mile and making the entire vessel out of transparent glass is definitely a weird and cool way to get money from tourists. In fact, I’m sold.
- Glass Caskets – Alright, now this one is a little strange. Not only because when a casket is buried nobody can see it. But also because we can’t really think of any reason to do this. That being said, it hasn’t stopped modern glass artists from making them and offering them to those who may want to be buried in style after they pass. Some of these pieces are made with stained glass features and ornate fixtures all over them. They are extravagant in both look and price at an average cost of over ten thousand dollars. But, if you think about it, that’s a small price to pay to be the coolest person in the cemetery. However, we don’t necessarily recommend dropping that kind of cash on something that’s going to be buried almost immediately.
There you have it, six alternative uses for glass that aren’t cups, bongs, or anything in the realm of normal. Some are necessary, some are novelty. All of them are examples of innovation in the world of glass art. In the market for something a bit more standard in the glass world? Not to worry. We have all kinds of glass pipes, bongs, bubblers, dab rigs, and more!