27 Jul 04 7:44 PM
Reply To: 26369
I would think that it would be quite possible. I don't know specifically about the history of "glass," but I do a fair bit of pottery. I've been doing research lately on glaze making, which is an old old art, going back to ancient Egypt and who knows how many dynasties in China.
Glazes on pottery are basically melted glass, being composed of silica and fluxes in various ratios. (You may remember, too, that glass windows were once called "glazings.") Colors found in pottery glazes are produced by the addition of mineral oxides. The vast majority of minerals in glazing (and hence glass-making, too) are found in nature, not produced synthetically. Not only the materials, but the process would be fairly easily accessible, too. If you wanted to, you could make a kiln in your own back yard. (I know people who have, actually). So, I don't see any reason why Minas Tirith wouldn't have appropriate technology and access to the resources to make colored glass.
As far as extrapolating from something that is unique to the Shire to the rest of M-e, I'm somewhat hesitant to do that. I have... but often feel more comfortable placing it within the context of the 4th age (during peace time and increased trade between civilizations) and framing it as a new addition or something unusual.
It seems to me that the Shire is prototypically Edwardian, with its waistcoats, mantle clocks, social structure, and values. It's set aside and different than the rest of the more "remote" medieval context of M-e. I think Tolkien had a distinct purpose in doing that. I think the hobbits and the Shire are, in a way, the contemporary reader's ticket into an age and land of ancient times, the bridge between modernity and myth. So, I'm reluctant to let too much of the culture of the Shire "bleed" into the rest of M-e.