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.

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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

Blaschkas’ Glass Models of Invertebrate Animals (1863–1890)
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The story of the Blaschkas begins in the small town of Böhmisch Aicha (now Cˇesky´ Dub in the Czech Republic), where Leopold’s father continued the family tradition of flameworking. When Leopold was a student, his favorite  subjects were natural history and painting, and a visiting artist urged him

Blaschkas’ Glass Botanical Models (1886–1936)
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Tropical and temperate plants continuously bloom in their Victorian cherry wood vitrines as visitors to the Harvard Museum of Natural History marvel at their favorite flowers and the most noxious weeds. These nearly 4,300 botanical models represent roughly 840 species and 170 plant families in an

Antonio Neri: Alchemist, Glassmaker, Priest
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One of the most interesting figures in the history of glass lived four hundred years ago in Florence, Italy. He was an alchemist, a glassmaker and a Catholic priest. His name was Antonio Neri and he worked for a prince from the Medici royal family. 1  Neri is famously known as the author of the

Historical Perspectives: Katharine Lamb Tait, 1895–1981
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Katharine Lamb Tait was born on June 3, 1895 in Alpine, New Jersey. Katharine’s father who was architect and designer, Charles Rollinson Lamb, was also president of Lamb Studios and the Stained Glass Association of America. 7 Her mother, Ella Condie Lamb was an artist. 1 In 1912, Tait graduated

Early Islamic Gold Sandwich Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass
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This article reviews the current state of our knowledge of early Islamic gold sandwich glass and publishes five examples in the Museum's collection. In 1964, the Corning Museum acquired a gold sandwich glass cup [64.1.32] (Fig. 1) that was identified as “2nd–4th century A.D., Parthian or

A Fragment of a Dichroic Cage Cup in The British Museum
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Among the glass in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at The British Museum is a fragment of a late Roman dichroic cage cup. Although the fragment has been mentioned on several occasions, 1 it has never been described in detail. The find-place is unknown. Description The fragment (Fig. 1

“Carder” Design Reassigned
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In 1959, The Corning Museum of Glass received a large group of objects as a gift from Frederick Carder, the retired director of the Steuben Glass Works. Most of these had been made at Steuben in Corning, New York, but some were English. Most of the English pieces came from Stevens & Williams of

A Fragment of Roman Glass Decorated with Enamel
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In 1975, The Corning Museum of Glass acquired a fragment with enameled ornament that was attributed to the late Hellenistic or early Roman period. 1 It was purchased in the marketplace, and the Museum has no record of its history. The purpose of this note is to suggest that it may have been

Islamic, Byzantine, or Roman? An Unusual Fragment from the Smith Collection
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Among the objects from the collection of Ray Winfield Smith that are in The Corning Museum of Glass, one relief-cut fragment has provoked widely divergent views about its identity. 1 The object (Fig. 1), which Smith acquired in Cairo, may be described as follows: Fragment with eagle [55.1.148].

An Unusual Fragment of Cameo Glass
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The subject of this note is a fragment of cameo glass [59.1.509] (Figs. 1 and 2), now in The Corning Museum of Glass, that was formerly in the collection of Ray Winfield Smith. 1 It was shown in the 1957 exhibition Glass from the Ancient World as part of a group of early Islamic cameo glass,

Two 19th-Century Forgeries of Gold Glasses in The Corning Museum of Glass
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In 1927, Gustavus Eisen published a group of "gold glasses" that he attributed to the period between the late third and sixth centuries A.D. 1 These objects, however, have long been recognized as forgeries. Examples were offered to the British Museum in 1909, but they failed to impress O.

The Seasons Vase
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The "Vase des Saisons" is the name given by Jean de Foville to a cameo glass bottle in the Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. (Figs. A, B, C "Alabastron en verre camée" (Camée.623)). The object may be described as follows: H. (as restored) 16

Roman Dichroic Glass: Two Contemporary Descriptions?
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Dichroic (two-colored) glass is so called because it appears to be one color in reflected light and another color when light shines through it. Only a handful of Roman dichroic glass objects are known to exist. The most famous of these is the Lycurgus Cup, which is opaque green in reflected light

The Corning Ewer: A Masterpiece of Islamic Cameo Glass
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The Corning Ewer (Figs. 1-5) is the finest known example of Islamic cameo glass. Shown in London in the 1976 exhibition "The Arts of Islam” 1 the ewer was acquired by The Corning Museum of Glass in 1985. 2 This article describes the object and compares it with other Islamic cameo glasses, with

Red Glasses from Beirut
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In his monumental study of documents from the Cairo Genizah, the late S.D. Goitein drew attention to a letter requesting, among other items, "a wickerwork basket with red glasses from Beirut, and if they cannot be had, white glasses." 1 The letter, which is written in Arabic but with

A Conversation Between Rakow Commission Artist Andrew Erdos and Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass
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The artwork of Andrew Erdos, the Museum’s 2013 Rakow Commission artist, is pop, sarcastic, and humorous, with a hint of social commentary. His over-the-top installations create a situation of sensory overload, which he sees as a reflection of everyday life in urban culture, especially the culture

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