Behind all the many possibilities that glass offers are an unseen multitude of skills, techniques, tools, furnaces and machines which have continuously evolved over the centuries. Glassworks employed men but they also put women and children to work on glass-related tasks, such as cutting, polishing, potting, forging and packing. Such jobs were indispensable to the smooth running of the industry. Likewise glass production, whether artistic or industrial, often required design drawings to be made beforehand, and promotional work to market the finished product inevitably followed. The glass industry was considerably affected by technological innovations and changes in consumer tastes. The arrival in the 1970s of plastic materials forced many glassworks to close. Climate change and more holistic approaches to how we use materials, taking into account the life cycles of objects, may yet bring glass back to the forefront of industry.