The revolution created by the introduction of blown glass also concerned other disciplines, closely connected to aspects of naturalistic, scientific and technological thought. From the classical age onward, the properties of glass and rock crystal were exploited to make burning-glass, refracting and reflecting instruments. Glass, at times in the better-known plano-convex shape, was worked into lenses to observe the very small. These viewing aids also played quite an important role in the observations of physicians and natural scientists.
These devices were joined by prisms which, intercepting sunlight, projected the colours of the rainbow onto smooth surfaces. The astronomers of antiquity soon realised that glass and crystal could be used to construct particularly suggestive models of the universe. Engineers interested in pneumatics often used glass to evidence the wonderful effects produced by the contiguity of elements. The many volume measures in scale, found in Vesuvian cities, as well as in many other centres of the empire, furthermore emphasise that transparent glass was adopted to measure liquids more precisely than were other materials.