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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Lobmeyr's Persian and Arabian Enameled Glass Series
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The Viennese company of Joseph and Ludwig Lobmeyr—founded by their father, Joseph Sr in 1823 and in family hands ever since—became widely recognised for its high-quality glass wares from the mid-nineteenth century. 1 Large ‘crystal’ chandeliers, such as those that were manufactured in 1878 to 1881

A Break with Tradition: Fused Silica
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After you see something work, then you realize that it’s not so complicated after all.      – J. Franklin Hyde It’s exquisitely pure and remarkably transparent. It expands and contracts very little with changes in temperature. It is the simplest of all glasses, yet for years it was nearly

With a Burst of Energy: Glass That Amplifies Light
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It was an idea that might have remained buried in scientific journals. Instead, it led to a device that gave modern telecommunications a much-needed boost. In the 1960s, Elias Snitzer, a physicist at American Optical, added rare earth elements to glass. These elements can absorb light energy—and,

Getting the Whole Picture: Bundled Glass Fibers
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Glass rods could transmit light, but could they transmit an image? A professor at a French agricultural college found himself faced with that question in the 1890s while he was tinkering with an early version of television. Henri C. Saint-Rene needed to find a way to transmit an image onto his

On a Thread of Glass: Optical Fibers for Communication
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I have heard a ray of the sun laugh and cough and sing!    -Alexander Graham Bell It was a bright idea: use sunlight to transmit the human voice. In 1880, American innovator Alexander Graham Bell tried it, using a thin, flexible mirror to reflect a light beam onto a distant receiver. His voice

From a Broken Flask: Laminated Safety Glass
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Edouard Benedictus, a set and costume designer for a French theater, wanted to make glass safer. He was disturbed by reports of people being disfigured by broken windshield glass during automobile accidents. How could windshields be made less dangerous? He recalled a curious incident that had

The Precise Moment: Tempered Glass
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Glass breaks. But if it’s strengthened by thermal tempering, it breaks less easily and more safely. By 1920, architects and European car designers wanted more and more tempered glass—and in large sheets. Glassmakers could successfully temper only one sheet in ten. There’s a trick to tempering: heat

Prince Rupert's Drop and Glass Stress
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Theoretically, because of the nature of its atomic bonds, glass should be about five times as strong as steel. However, glass tends to have less strength than theory would suggest. One of the main reasons for its loss of strength is surface and internal stress. If glass is cooled too rapidly, high

The Fabulous Monster: Owens Bottle Machine
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The most significant advance in glass production in over 2,000 years...     -American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1983 Michael Owens, a self-taught American inventor, propelled the glass industry into the mechanical age. In 1903, he unveiled the world’s first completely automatic glass-forming

The Origins of Glassmaking
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Little is known about the first attempts to make glass. However, it is generally believed that glassmaking was discovered 4,000 years ago, or more, in Mesopotamia. The Roman historian Pliny attributed the origin of glassmaking to Phoenician sailors. He recounted how they landed on a beach near

Meet the Artist: Fritz Dreisbach
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Like most pioneers of the American Studio Glass movement, Fritz Dreisbach was first drawn to the possibilities of blowing molten glass. It was the 60s. He and such early designer-artists as Dale Chihuly and Marvin Lipofsky were happily blowing organic, eccentric, free-form objects purposefully

Masters of Studio Glass: Jiří Harcuba
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Heritage means to select the most valuable thing from history and hand it over to the next generation... Prehistorical rock engravings are closer to our contemporary artistic views than classical art. Other manifestations of the primary art of Australia, Africa, and Oceania as well as folk art

Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab
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Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab showcases the Museum’s signature design program, GlassLab, in which designers are invited to work with hot glass. The exhibition features over 150 design prototypes by nearly 50 international designers. Over the last decade, the field of design has

Continuous Perfection: Optical-Quality Glass
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They make glass. By day and night, the fires burn on … and bid the sand let in the light.     -Carl Sandburg, In Reckless Ecstasy, 1904. To see the unseeable: the quest is unending. But lenses and prisms are only as good as their glass. Optical-quality glass must be flawless. Even tiny flecks,

The American Studio Glass Movement
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The Beginning of the Studio Movement During the 1950s, studio ceramics and other craft media in the U.S. began to gain in popularity and importance, and American artists interested in glass looked for new paths outside industry. The catalyst for the development of studio glass in the United States

A Brief History of Gemmaux
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The permanent collection of The Corning Museum of Glass holds sixteen glass panels affixed to light boxes, which were crafted in a mid-20th-century technique that has recently seen a surge in public interest. The panels, made in the 1950s and 1960s, came to the museum in 1993, and are called

The Tradition of the Avant-Garde: Bohemian Glass, 1820–1935
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What is your first association with the term “bohemian”? Does it evoke a fine beer-brewing tradition, or connote unpronounceable town names? Germans have a saying: “lauter böhmische Dörfer” (nothing but Bohemian villages), referring to something completely incomprehensible, because of the odd

Robert Willson
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Robert Willson (1912–2000) was a sculptor, “half Texan and half Choctaw Indian,” as he liked to describe himself. A maverick in art and in life, he worked outside the mainstream. His work explores themes inspired by ancient mythologies, pre-Columbian and other native American art, and the American

Robert Willson- Bringing Life to Solid Glass
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Anyone who has gazed into the clear depths of a paperweight knows how intoxicating solid glass can be. Glass in vessel form can be decorative, beautiful, even breathtaking, but one cannot escape the utilitarian. After all, it can hold our Cheerios. On the other hand, you would be lying to yourself

A Brief History of Islamic Glassmaking
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The prophet Muhammad proclaimed the new religion of Islam in 622. Following his death ten years later, Arab armies conquered much of what is now Egypt, the Near East, and Iran. Here the Moslems found flourishing glass industries, which continued to produce large quantities of objects for daily use.

Frederick Carder: A Biography for Young Audiences
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Frederick Carder was born in England on September 18, 1863. Fred, as people called him, was fascinated with his family’s pottery factory. At the age of 14, he insisted on quitting school so he could work there. His father was very unhappy about this, so he made Fred work from six in the morning

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

The Glass Flowers
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Before the development of high-speed moving image media, or fiberglass, naturalists and educators faced a quandary: it was often impossible to demonstrate exactly what an invertebrate looked like without a live specimen, because the spine collapses and color leaches out of one preserved in alcohol.

Tools of the Glassmaker
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Pictured below are the basic tools used by glassblowers working "at the furnace" (as opposed to those working "at the lamp"- "flameworking" or "lampworking"). They are pretty much unchanged since the first century AD. Incredibly, a Roman-period worker could

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women Working with Glass
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Women have played an important role in glassmaking history. The following is a brief overview of the ways in which women have worked with glass before 1950, as documented in articles, books, and original materials from the Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass. Beadmakers and

Pre-Columbian Use of Obsidian
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The lack of any advanced metallurgy among the Aztecs and Mayas has long been a mystery to students of pre-Colombian civilizations. Why, historians ask, were the great Mexican empires stuck in the %%Stone%% Age? The Spanish crushed the Aztec empire with amazing ease, and the Americans'

Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead
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An understanding of the history of glass would not be complete without acknowledging the importance of glass beads both as a products of early manufacture in the medium and as artistic representations of diverse cultures and societies. Glass beads have been found at the earliest glass manufacturing

At the Lamp
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Today lampworkers %%melt%% borosilicate glass in brilliant colors using modern torches that burn oxygen and propane. But how did glassworkers %%melt%% glass at the flame 300 years ago? As a glass librarian and a glass artist, I'm fascinated by the ingenuity and inventiveness of lampworkers in

Glass in Nature
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Although most people think of glass as a man-made material, it is found in many forms in the natural world. A range of glasses are found in—and formed by—nature. Volcanoes spew molten rock, lightning strikes desert and beach sands, meteorites pound the earth, and sea sponges and microscopic

A Century of Pyrex
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America’s Favorite Dish: Celebrating a Century of Pyrex, on view June 6, 2015 through March 17, 2016 celebrates the 100 year anniversary of Pyrex, developed by Corning Glass Works in 1915. Born out of scientific discoveries in glass, and the emerging science of home economics, Pyrex was shaped not

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