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Glass makers would often add burnt plants to the molten sand mix to try and remove impurities. And after taking classes to learn the methods of an alchemist, Angelo Barovier, a maverick glass maker, experimented with a plant called Saltwort that he imported from Syria. 

The result was a transparent, colorless glass that triggered a revolution.

Tune in now to HOW WE GOT TO NOW on PBS to hear the rest of the story of glass.

McDonalds modified the McFlurry cups to save the lives of hedgehogs

McDonalds had to do extensive research to make the hole on the lid of the McFlurry cup smaller after it became known that hedgehogs got stuck with their heads and starved to death. Their spikes lay flat to get their head inside, but lift up when they try to pull their head out. That is why they resized the hole in the lid so that the hedgehogs heads would not get stuck anymore. 

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Gutenberg takes the basic architecture of a grape press and created a printing machine, one of the greatest inventions in the history of humanity.

Suddenly we are able to mass produce books, and that opens doors to the spread of knowledge. But an unexpected consequence is the surge in a demand for spectacles.

Glasses immedietly improve the lives of millions, literacy levels go up and eyesight could now be remedied, allowing people to work well into old age.

Learn more about the history of glass with HOW WE GOT TO NOW, airing right now on PBS.

Yes, it’s essentially no different than a plastic cup, except it is. And what took so long? It’s almost as if inventors of alcohol-related products quit trying after the flask and that hat that lets you drink beer through a straw. If you’re reading this, Anheuser-Busch V.I.P. guy, let’s set up a think tank and brainstorm some new products for all the drunks of tomorrow. They deserve it. 

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