Slavery in the Workforce

Square-sided bottle
Early 2nd century A.D.
Ht., 16.4 cm

Key to the growth of glassworking in the West was the displacement and enslavement of skilled eastern craftsmen. They brought with them the traditional Eastern Mediterranean technique of glass molding and the relatively new technique of glass blowing.

Cheap and organized labor assured the industrialization of glassworking through standardization of the products, both in size and shape, among the more common vessels used for storage and transport.

By the beginning of the second century A.D., every glassworking technique we use today had been fully developed by the Romans, and it has been estimated that close to one hundred million vessels were then being produced every year to satisfy the Empire's domestic demands.