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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Pietro Bigaglia
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One of the most noteworthy contributors to the development of the first paperweight was the 19th century Venetian glassmaker Pietro Bigaglia. Bigaglia’s family owned glassmaking shops in Venice as early as 1674. He made mirrors as well as lamps and window panes decorated with filigree and

Perfume Bottles: From Design Table to Dressing Table
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Since ancient times, perfume bottles have served to contain the most subtle of mysteries: delightful, seductive scents. Before glassblowing, ancient Egyptian artisans fashioned exquisite containers from alabaster, metals, precious stones, and core-formed glass to hold their highly valued perfumes.

One Step Closer: The Iron Glassblower
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A little more than 2,000 years ago, a Roman glassworker did something that dramatically changed the course of history. He blew a puff of air through a hollow %%rod%% into a gob of hot glass. The gob inflated into a bubble. At that moment, glassblowing was born. Glassblowing provided a way to make

Founders of American Studio Glass: Dominick Labino
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At the time that [studio glassworking] began, not one of us involved was aware of the speed with which it would spread. Not only nationally, but internationally. — Dominick Labino, undated manuscript Dominick Labino’s contributions to 20th-century glassmaking were wide-ranging and innovative.

A Pressing Solution: Shaped Glass
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Glass manufacturers had spent centuries learning how to make flat glass. Now, they wanted to bend it into complex shapes—without marring its surface. Anything that touched the surface of the hot glass could leave a mark. The first curved windows were made by slumping. A glass sheet was placed in a

Meet the Artist: April Surgent
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April Surgent rethinks engraving and cameo techniques, reaching back to antiquity to create works that look painterly, photographic, and contemporary. Her images come to light through precise cutting and the grinding away of fused glass layers, usually milky white on the top with darker strata

Czech Glass vs. Bohemian Glass
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Do you know the difference between the Czech Republic and Bohemia? The short answer is that there is practically none. Both names refer to nearly the same region, and they are used for historical reasons. From the Middle Ages to 1918, Bohemia was the name of what is today the major part of the

Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style, 1500-1750
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In Renaissance Europe, the compulsion to copy Venetian glassmaking styles and techniques was no simple fashion fad. The glass was clearly superior in almost every way. The glass was called “cristallo” because it was clear and colorless, a quality the Venetians achieved as early as 1440 by making it

Genie in the Bottle: Glass Bulbs & TV Tubes
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In 1879, the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison was on the verge of a breakthrough. He had discovered a slow-burning filament that would glow for hours in the vacuum of a glass globe. But to create the first practical electric light, he needed a glass globe that would not implode when the air was

Solarized Glass
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Certain types of colorless, transparent glasses, when exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time, develop a pink or pale purplish color. Bottles, insulators, and other objects having their color changed in this way are often called "desert glass," but the scientist prefers the term

Lighting the Way: Fresnel Lens
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The most dangerous part of a sailing trip used to be returning to shore. Lighthouses were built to signal the safest route, but often the weak light from their lamps was not visible until too late. The large, thick lens that was supposed to project the light absorbed much of the signal.  Hollowing

Louis Comfort Tiffany Paperweights
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Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, was born in 1848. At the time of Tiffany’s birth his father owned one of the most prestigious jewelry and silver stores in America. Tiffany grew up around the decorative arts and decided to become a painter in 1866 rather than attend

Drawings for American Stained Glass
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Drawings for American %%Stained Glass%%, a 2010 exhibition at the Museum’s Rakow Research Library, showcased 19th- and 20th-century designs from studios and artists across the United States. These designs illustrated the great diversity in style and subject matter in modern American stained glass,

19th Century French Paperweight Makers
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Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint-Louis Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, which is named after the sainted King Louis IX, was founded in Lorraine, France in 1767 and still exists today. Along with Baccarat, it nearly monopolized the French luxury glass industry for many years. In late

A Trip Up a Goat Path Unearths Blaschka-Era Lampworking Table
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Who would have thought that a trip up a goat path would lead to the Museum’s acquisition of a 19th-century lampworking table that was part of the 2007 Botanical Wonders exhibition? In October 2006, Steve Gibbs, the Museum’s manager of events marketing, embarked on a mission to find a lampworking

Thérèse Lahaie: Rhythms in Glass
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Rarely does a visitor catch sight of Thérèse Lahaie’s Silver Gray Nocturne Triptych (2005.4.204) in the Museum’s Ben W. Heineman Sr. Family Contemporary Glass Gallery and not walk over or lean in to get a closer look. Something in, or behind, the panels of glass is rising and falling

Portland Vase Iconography
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The Portland Vase is the best-known ancient Roman cameo glass vessel. It is in the collection of the British Museum in London. For some pieces of art, the meaning of a figural scheme is clear; in others, the interpretation takes years to decipher; and in the %%case%% of the Portland Vase, scholars

Reflections on Glass: Telescope Mirrors
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I contrived heretofore, a perspective by Reflexion.       —Sir Isaac Newton, c. 1668 The refracting telescope gave astronomers their first real glimpse of the heavens. Then, it began to frustrate them. At higher magnifications, the instrument’s glass lenses produced distorted images. Pioneering

The Hale Reflecting Telescope at Palomar
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Lenses are used in refracting telescopes. Mirrors are used in reflecting telescopes. The mirrors are ground and polished so that a precise concave surface remains to be coated with a shiny, reflective finish. Mirrors concentrate light and focus all colors of the spectrum in an image. No lens can

Master of Studio Glass: František Vízner
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In 1979, the Museum’s landmark exhibition, New Glass: A Worldwide Survey, introduced to the American public the work of a Czechoslovak glassmaker, František Vízner. Nearly 30 years later, the Museum presented Vizner once again at Corning as a studio glass master. Masters of %%Studio Glass%%:

The Long Road to Success: Fusion Draw Glass
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Both companies were chasing the same thing: the enormous market for flat glass. While Pilkington was working to develop flat glass, Corning Glass Works was developing a process of its own. Fusion draw produced a continuous sheet of exceptionally thin, pristine glass, but it was too slow to compete.

Annealing Glass
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If a hot glass object is cooled "too quickly," it may be strained at room temperature, and therefore may break easily. For small, or thin-walled shapes (particularly those made of glasses having low expansions) the effect may not be serious. For more massive pieces, the strain can be very

Crizzling
Article

The Stages of Crizzling Stage 1: Initial Stage Presence of alkali on the glass gives the surface a cloudy or hazy appearance. Tiny droplets or fine crystals can form if there is high (above 55%) or low (below 40%) relative humidity. Glass may feel slippery or slimy. Washing will remove alkali from

Chocolate and Glass: A Tasty Comparison
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Dr. Samuel R. Scholes established the first glass science program in the United States at New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, in 1932. He continued to be a leader in the field of glass science and technology at Alfred for over 40 years. In the essay below, he demonstrates his

From the 1908 Ornamental Glass Bulletin: "Odd Uses of Glass"
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"It was only a few months ago that plans were drawn for a house to be built of compressed opalescent glass bricks to be erected at Beechhurst; L.I. The house will be built, as regards material, very similar to some small one and two story office buildings which have been erected in Des Moines,

Restoring Tiffany
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Here’s the ultimate jigsaw puzzle: take 40 pieces of shattered glass in varying sizes, and hundreds of tiny chips of glass, and put them together to restore a rare Tiffany Peacock Eye Lamp base to its full glory. That’s just what the Museum’s conservator, Stephen Koob, has done. Unless you examine

Master of Studio Glass: Richard Craig Meitner
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The ever-evolving work of American artist Richard Craig Meitner, distinguished by its wit and poetry, reflects a variety of influences and ideas, ranging from Japanese textiles, Italian painting, and German Expressionist graphics, to science and the natural world. A new survey of his work, Masters

Glass of the Maharajahs
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The Tradition of Glass Furniture The tradition of glass furniture began in the early nineteenth century when the Russian Imperial Glass Works created several tables for members of the imperial family. But it was the opening of the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in

Glass of the Alchemists
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In the late 17th century, European glassmakers scored two major successes. In Bohemia, the British Isles, and Germany, they produced crystal glass vessels that resembled natural rock crystal. And in Brandenburg, Germany, they also manufactured red vessels—from gold ruby glass—that looked as if they

Glass Behind the Iron Curtain: Czech Design, 1948-1978
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An Interview with Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass This interview was conducted in December 2001 in preparation for the opening of the 2002 summer exhibition at The Corning Museum of Glass: Glass Behind the Iron Curtain: Czech Design, 1948-1978. The Corning Museum of Glass is known for the

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