The Scoop on Our Sand Addiction

Presently, my head is buried in sand.

Or to be more precise, The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser.

It’s a book about sand.

Lots of it.

And oh yeah, we are pretty much addicted to the stuff. The subtitle of the book is “THE STORY OF SAND AND HOW IT TRANSFORMED CIVILIZATION”

From microchips to mega-skyscrapers, sand is utilized everywhere, and we take little notice of it.

And despite sand being prevalent throughout the Earth, it’s not always easy to get the right sand for the right applications, resulting in showdowns, high expenses, environmental disasters, and more.

To wit– beach front towns in Florida need to pump in beach sand from the middle of the state as sand washes away over time and is not readily available nearby.

Meanwhile, in my home state of New Jersey, glass manufacturers sprouted up in 1739 in Alloway, when, according to the New York Times, “a German immigrant, Caspar Wistar, defied a British policy forbidding manufacturing in the colonies by opening a window- and bottle-making company, Wistarburgh Glass Manufactory, with four German glassblowers. Wistarburgh was the first successful American glass company.” The sand and other raw materials found in Southern New Jersey proved to be perfect for glassmaking. Somewhat famously, Mason jars were created and patented here in the 1850s by John Landis Mason.

The stained glass pictured above can be found on a door at Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center, a simple yet elegant example of how sand is used in every day life.

All that said, I found this book to be surprisingly intriguing.

Who knew that the history of sand could be so… deep?

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