The windshield

The Windshield. It is a glass lantern open from above and below, to protect the light against the wind . It is also said of the transparent material that serves as a cover on the front of cars to counteract wind and rain at speed .

Brief history of your material

These Decorative Art pieces are always made of glass. Glass is the material par excellence that provides objects with transparency. History explains that, curiously, glass was discovered by chance. According to the Roman historian Pliny the Elder in his Natural History , the birth of this transparent material happened in Syria when some Phoenician merchants from Natron , made up of natural salt , prepared their food, not finding stones to place their pots on fire, they threw out part of the natron they were carrying. The next day, they saw how the natron stones had melted and their reaction with the sand had produced a shiny material.

From then on, the Phoenicians, a merchant people, transferred this discovery to the entire Mediterranean basin , although it was really the Egyptians of the pre-dynastic period who were the first to make glass in the form of vitrified enamels, faience . For the Egyptians, glass had a purely decorative use: the translucent object was colored to imitate the texture of precious metals such as lapis lazuli .

But the transparency of the glass was imposed centuries later with the introduction by the Romans of blowing that made its production possible on a large scale. During the Roman Empire most of the decorative techniques on glass that we know today were developed.

As is well known, the Middle Ages represented a general darkening in the life of Europe and glass was no stranger to it. Its texture acquired a greenish coloration, as a result of its manufacture with marine plants brought from the Mediterranean and the technique of the Romans hardly changed in centuries.

It was not until the development of the glass most famous of the world, the glass of Venice , in the Renaissance . Thanks to its excellent quality, its characteristic fragility and its incorruptible transparency, Venetian Cristallo, whose production was concentrated on the island of Murano , dominated the market until well into the 18th century .

It was then that glass lived a second youth with the discovery in Germany of new techniques to treat this material. Precisely a specific region of the German Empire , Bohemia in the present Czech Republic , has since become a sign of distinction in glass and an example of translucent refinement.

Today glass is with us at all times and its many uses have made it an undervalued everyday object if we ignore the rare Swarovski phenomenon . It has gone from being a luxury object related to precious stones to a mere container where you can sip water. But at the end of the day, glass is still a strange alloy of sand, salt and fire, with an even more inconsistent result, transparency.

Windshield in Santiago de Cuba

Inside the Museum of Cuban Historical Environment of Santiago de Cuba, it should be noted that there is a commendable collection of glass windshields that have been utilitarian decorative objects of daily use of colonial Creole houses of past centuries; they are simple pieces some of vast decorations carved in the glass, they are also known as lanterns, a term that can be considered synonymous for responding to the same use although many lanterns hang from the interior roofs of colonial houses, they are used to protect the light from the flames of the wind candles, hence the simplicity of its name.


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