What Is Glitter?

What Is Glitter?

Each December, surrounded by wonderlands of white paper snowflakes, vivid red winterberries, and forests of green conifers reclaiming their ancestral territory from inside the nation’s living rooms and hotel lobbies, children and adults delight to see the true harbinger of the vacations: aluminum metalized polyethylene terephthalate.

Aluminum metalized polyethylene terephthalate settles over store windows like dazzling frost. It flashes like scorching, molten gold throughout the nail plates of younger women. It sparkles like pure precision-reduce starlight on an ornament of a North American brown bear driving a car towing a camper van. Certainly, in Clement Clarke Moore’s seminal Christmas Eve poem, the eyes of Saint Nicholas himself are said to twinkle like aluminum metalized polyethylene terephthalate (I’m paraphrasing). In properties and malls and schools and synagogues and banks and hospitals and fire stations and hardware stores and breweries and automotive sellerships, and each kind of office — and outside these places, too — it shines. It glitters. It's glitter.

What's glitter? The only reply is one that will leave you slightly unsatisfied, but a minimum of together with your confidence in comprehending basic physical properties intact. Glitter is made from glitter. Big glitter begets smaller glitter; smaller glitter gets in all places, all glitter is impossible to remove; now never ask this query again.

People, even people who don’t like glitter, like glitter. We're drawn to shiny things in the identical wild method our ancestors had been overcome by a compulsion to forage for honey. A concept that has discovered favor amongst analysis psychologists (supported, partially, by a examine that monitored babies’ enthusiasm for licking plates with glossy finishes) is that our attraction to sparkle is derived from an innate need to hunt out fresh water.

Glitter as a contactable product — or more appropriately, an assemblage of touchable products ("glitter" is a mass noun; specifically, it's a granular aggregate, like "rice") — is an invention so recent it’s barely defined. The Oxford English Dictionary principally considerations itself with explaining glitter as an intangible type of sparkly light. Till the invention within the twentieth century of the modern craft substance, one may either observe something’s glitter (the glitter of glass), or hold something that glittered (like, say, ground up glass). Tinsel, which has existed for hundreds of years, does not become glitter when reduce into small pieces. It turns into "bits of tinsel." The tiny, shiny, decorative particles of glitter we're accustomed to right now are popularly believed to have originated on a farm in New Jersey within the 1930s, when a German immigrant invented a machine to chop scrap material into extremely small pieces. (Curiously, he didn't start filing patents for machines that minimize foil into what he called "slivers" till 1961.) The particular occasions that led to the preliminary dispersal of glitter are nebulous; in true glitter fashion, swiftly, it was merely everywhere.

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