All About Glass

All About Glass

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.

Early Modern Printed Books at the Rakow Library, 1450-1550: An Introduction
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A select group of rare books in the Rakow Research Library’s collection serve not only as repositories of early glass knowledge but also as artifacts of fine bookmaking. They were written by ancient authors and printed some 1,000 years later during the first century of modern printing (about 1450

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio's De architectura (On architecture) printed in Rome, 1486
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In the canon of architectural writings, this ancient Roman Latin text stands at the summit. It was written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (fl. first century B.C.) sometime in the late first century B.C. Today’s architecture students find it on their reading lists, and it is still available in paperback

Strabo's De situ orbis printed in Venice, 1472
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When Johannes de Spira died in 1470, the printing business he had started was taken over by his brother, Vindelinus. Two years later, Vindelinus published Strabo’s De situ orbis, an ancient geographical text consisting of 17 books. A first edition of this work had been issued in Rome in 1469 by

Aristophanes' Nine Comedies and Aristotle's Works printed in Greek by Aldus Manutius in Venice, 1498
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One of the most learned scholar-printers in Venice was Aldus Manutius (1449–1515). He designed a Greek type font that, beginning about 1495, he used to print a series of texts by the ancient Greek masters. The Rakow Research Library has two of these original Aldine editions in its collection. One

Dio Cassius' Roman History printed by Robert Estienne in Paris, 1548
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One might say that the 16 th century scholar-printer Robert Estienne (1503-1559) inherited from Aldus Manutius the mantle of Greek printing. At the very least, he must have felt an affinity with Aldus based on his love for the ancient Greek writings and his desire to render them in modern

Flavius Josephus’ books on Jewish history printed by Johann Schüssler in Augsburg, 1470
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One of the most reliable sources of ancient Jewish history is Flavius Josephus (about 37–97 A.D.), a native of Jerusalem and a learned statesman who became a favorite of Roman emperors. His two chief works, De bello Judaico (The Jewish war) and De antiquitate Judaica (Jewish antiquities), are bound

Isaac Newton, Opticks: Or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light, 1704
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Isaac Newton (1642–1727) is often described as the greatest of all scientific thinkers. He is most famous, perhaps, for having formulated the universal law of gravitation, as well as the laws of motion. However, his interests also included alchemy, theology, mathematics, and the branch of physics

Udagawa Yoan and William Henry, Seimi Kaiso: A Japanese chemistry text in seven volumes, published in Edo (Tokyo), 1837
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Seimi Kaiso plays an important role in the remarkable story of Western scientific influences in Japan. When this work first appeared in 1837, Japan had been almost completely isolated from the larger world for two centuries. The Japanese were not allowed to travel abroad, and only the Chinese and

Vannoccio Biringuccio, De la pirotechnia, 1540
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The technology of printing with movable type, which had been invented in the mid-15th century, was still in its youth when Vannoccio Biringuccio’s comprehensive work on metallurgy, De la pirotechnia, was published in Venice in 1540. The phenomenon of the printed book spread knowledge and encouraged

Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus), Historia naturalis, about A.D. 77
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First printed edition published by Johannes de Spira, Venice, 1469 A chief idea in ancient thought and in Renaissance Humanism was the centrality of the individual in the world. Accordingly, the natural world was considered to be less a manifestation of a divine creator and more a stage for the

Lorenzo Magalotti, Saggi di naturali esperienze, 1667
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The Saggi di naturali esperienze / fatte nell’Accademia del cimento sotto la protezione del serenissimo principe Leopoldo di Toscana e descritte del segretario di essa Accademia is a landmark publication in the history of experimental science. It describes experiments conducted by members of the

Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De Proprietatibus Rerum
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The encyclopedia titled De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the properties of things) was one of the most influential and widely published pedagogical works of the late medieval period. Originally written in Latin in the mid-13th century, it contained 19 books in a single volume that was meant to encompass

Antonio Neri, L’Arte vetraria, 1612
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As the Italian Renaissance entered its last century and Galileo Galilei was using his telescope to advance the science of astronomy, a Florentine priest named Antonio Neri was writing a guide for glassmakers that would inform their craft for the next 200 years. Titled L’Arte vetraria (The art of

The History of Science and Technology in the Rakow Library
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The scientific resources housed in the Rakow Library chronicle the mutual history of glass and science. They reveal how glass was both a subject and a tool of scientific study. They also highlight the different channels of scientific communication, beginning with the Medieval manuscript of the

Leopold Blaschka and Rudolf Blaschka: Drawings for Glass Models of Marine Invertebrates
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Although many people have either heard about or visited the Harvard collection of glass flowers, few are familiar with their creators, the father and son model makers, Leopold (1822-1895) and Rudolf (1857-1939) Blaschka. Fewer still know about the Blaschkas’ models of soft-bodied undersea creatures

The Artfulness of Utility
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Visitors to The Corning Museum of Glass may see everything from an edgy, disturbing sculpture by Sylvia Levenson to an Islamic perfume bottle from the Middle Ages.  At times, it can seem as if the vast array of objects has only silica in common.  There are objects that provoke debate and objects