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The History of Glass

Updated on 22 May, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Reading answers for IELTS Banner

The reading section of the IELTS examination comprises passages and subsequent questions for candidates to answer. It is a crucial part of the IELTS exam, and proper preparation can help increase the overall band score and aid admission to prestigious universities. Amplify your practice to boost your results with our IELTS reading sample of ‘The History of Glass’ with answers. 

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Questions A-H

Complete the notes below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet

A. Early humans used a 1

B. To make the sharp points of their 2

C. 4000 BC: made of stone were covered in a coating of man-made glass

D. First century BC: glass was colored because of the in the material.

E. Until 476 AD: Only the 5 knew how to make glass.

F. 17th century: George Ravenscroft developed a process using 6

G. To avoid the occurrence of in blown glass.

H. Mid-19th century: British glass production developed after changes to laws concerning 8

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Questions I-M

In boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE    if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

I. ________ In 1887, HM Ashley had the fastest bottle-producing machine that existed at the time.

J. _______ Michael Owens was hired by a large US company to design a fully-automated bottle manufacturing machine for them.

The History of Glass

K. _____ Nowadays, most glass is produced by large international manufacturers.

L. _______ Concern for the environment is leading to an increased demand for glass containers.

M. ______It is more expensive to produce recycled glass than to manufacture new glass.


A. Answer: Obsidian

Explanation: According to the history of glass reading IELTS sample, the answer is in line 5, second paragraph, where the author explicitly states that the volcanic glass, Obsidian, was used by early humans before the modern form of glass was created.

B. Answer: Cutting tools

Explanation: As provided in line 6, paragraph 2, Obsidian was used to sharpen the cutting tools used by early humans. Before glass was created and perfected, Obsidian acted as the material for enhancing the tips of hunting materials. 

C. Answer: Beads

Explanation: In the IELTS reading sample of the history of glass, the answer is provided on lines 8-9, paragraph two. The author claims that one of the earliest pieces of evidence of glass-resembling materials were beads with a stone covering. These beads were accidentally obtained as by-products of the metalworking process or faience production.

D. Answer: Impurities

Explanation: The earliest glass was not colorless due to the presence of impurities in the material, as said in lines 14-15, paragraph three. The evidence is the presence of colored glass vessels excavated from the Roman Empire's remnants.
E. Answer: Romans

Explanation: The answer in the IELTS reading sample of the history of glass claims that the Romans were the only ones familiar with glass production until 476 AD. After the collapse of the Roman empire, glassmaking technology was introduced to the world.

F. Answer: Lead

Explanation: In paragraph 6, the author talks about a significant innovation in the 19th century, when George Ravenscroft used lead to develop the glassmaking process. The presence of lead provided a massive boost to the glassblowing process.

G. Answer: Clouding

Explanation: The answer is in lines 5 to 7 of paragraph six in the IELTS reading sample of the history of glass. Before the introduction of lead, the author claims that clouding was a widely prevalent occurrence that significantly impacted the process. 

H. Answer: Taxes

Explanation: When the British glass industry was booming after the expiration of Ravenscroft's patent, the government levied a tax on glass production to regulate the industry. However, the taxes were eventually repealed.

I. Answer: True

Explanation: As explained in paragraph 10, lines 1-2, 1887 was a transformative period as glass manufacturers turned to semi-automatic production to increase efficiency. At this time, HM Ashley gained an edge over the competitors as he developed a machine with an output of 200 bottles per hour, significantly higher than any other machine.

J. Answer: False

Explanation: In paragraph 11, lines 2-3, it is stated that Michael Owens did not create the automated bottle machine for an external company. In fact, he made it to increase the output of his own company, the Owens Bottle Machine Company. With an excellent output of 2,500 bottles per hour, the technology gave them a significant advantage over other companies.

K. Answer: Not given

Explanation: Nowhere in the passage is it mentioned or implied that large international manufacturers dominate the glass industry. The passage only claims that glassmaking has evolved to become a highly profitable industry.

L. Answer: True

Explanation: In paragraph 12, lines 5-6, the widespread adoption of glass containers is occurring due to the need for sustainability. Since glass containers can be reused for multiple applications and recycled to make glass bottles, beads, and other construction materials to prevent wastage.

M. Answer: False

Explanation: Lines 6-8 in paragraph 12 discuss the benefits of recycling glass. Not only does recycling consume less energy than designing new glass from raw materials, but it also saves production costs and fuel consumption.

Important IELTS Exam Resources

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert