This is your resource for exploring various topics in glass: delve deeper with this collection of articles, multimedia, and virtual books all about glass. Content is frequently added to the area, so check back for new items. If you have a topic you'd like to see covered, send us your suggestion. If you have a specific question, Ask a Librarian at our Rakow Research Library.
In a typical glass factory in earlier times, most workers would work as unskilled laborers. An unskilled laborer was usually called "boy," a term which did not refer to the age of the individual. Although girls were known to perform other work, they often worked as inspectors and packers
Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert published their much acclaimed Encyclopédie in Paris from 1751 to 1765. To illustrate their entries, they commissioned several hundred engraved images depicting artistic crafts and common trades in preindustrial France. Since pictorial representations of
Glass that gradually shades from one color to another has ingredients such as uranium and gold, which are sensitive to heat. When part of the object is reheated, it "strikes" or changes color. Heat-sensitive glass became very popular in the late 19th century. Many companies used heat
In the 1930s, the Pairpoint Glass Corporation introduced a bold new design called "twist glass," consisting of swirled stripes of ruby or deep blue glass and clear crystal. The complicated technique, already used in Sweden, required many stages including cold working. Watch as William
In the second half of the 19th century, many glass firms used experimental techniques to create decorative art glass. In 1878, the Mt. Washington glass company introduced Sicilian glass. As part of their marketing, the company claimed to have used lava, that is, molten rock spewed out by volcanoes,
Watch as William Gudenrath demonstrates the Reticello technique. Reticello (Italian, "glass with a small network"), is a type of blown glass made with canes organized in a crisscross pattern to form a fine net, which may contain tiny air traps.
Glassworkers made ring-shaped decanters as early as the Roman period. Due to their novel shape, much like buoys, the personal flotation devices carried on ships, decanters in the early 20th century were called "lifebuoy decanters." Watch as William Gudenrath demonstrates the technique.
Glass makers throughout history have gone to great lengths to eliminate all bubbles from glass. But here, we see bubbles purposefully put into the glass for their decorative effect. In this paperweight, the bubbles surround another gather of glass with twisted canes of colored glass. Watch as
"I want the viewer to expereince the process of blurring boundaries between cultures by looking at my work." Song studies ornamental styles across time periods and geography, and her work explores how certain attributes of glass can be used to create ambivalent objects: objects that don&
Philadelphia-based artist Christopher Lydon makes organically inspired sculptural and vessel forms as well as works with intense color contrasts that reference street art and anime. At 2300°: Blues in March 2012, he made a glass guitar modeled on BB King's signature guitar, Lucille.