Glass plays an essential role in our lives and has done for centuries. Glass has not always been so ubiquitous and this book charts the development of the English glass industry from the medieval period to recent times. Medieval glass was a scarce, luxury material used to furnish the tables of the wealthiest members of society, and to glaze only churches and palaces. The industry was small and largely based in rural areas, where the necessary raw materials (in particular wood for fuel) were abundant. In the 16th century, glass manufacture increased and benefited from technological development (largely brought by immigrant glass makers). This encouraged a drop in prices for customers which probably helped to increase the demand for glass. Throughout the 17th century the English glass industry was transformed by the use of new coal-fuelled furnaces, and raw materials, especially seaweed and lead. By the 18th century, glass was routinely used to glaze houses even for the less wealthy members of society, store wine and beer, and serve drinks. The scientific analysis of glass and glass working waste from this period has advanced considerably in recent years and has enriched our understanding of the raw materials and technologies employed in glass manufacture.