In the 1920s and 1930s the use of glass block was more or less limited to the side of the front door and in bathrooms. But today glass block is used almost anywhere, and to good advantage.

Glass is one of the oldest and most useful products we have. Pieces of formed and colored glass have been found dating back to 4000 B.C. And since the center of our modern block is a sealed void, it provides dead air space, which, in turn, provides good insulation.Too, due to the shape of the glass, light coming through it is diverted and distributed in odd patterns, giving the deflected light an added decorative effect in the room.

Yet with the typical size of a block being about 4 inches square, its use is almost limitless. They can be used as a curved wall, be placed in a stepped up or down pattern or be set straight with an opening in the middle or off to the side; and the list goes on. A little bit of imagination and creativity will inspire countless ways of using these blocks.

Installation isn't too difficult. Since the blocks have a rough coating around the edges, it acts as a bond between the block and the mortar. One part Portland cement with one part lime and three parts sand will make a great mortar mix. There are expansion strips and reinforcing strips available for use on the blocks for further strength and flexibility.

Maintenance is easy. Dirt on the face of the block may be easily removed with water. It's as simple as that.

Here are some ideas on where to use the block: as a half-wall between the eating space and the working space in the kitchen; as a furniture base for a cocktail table; as a divider between living and dining room if the space is otherwise not separated; at the base of the bathroom tub with a fluorescent light behind it, or as a shower wall instead of a plain glass wall; in the foyer or living room in a stepped-up pattern with each step to be used as a display base for artifacts.

The possibilities are many. Just get a little creative and go for it.