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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Core Formed Vase
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes the technique of core forming, which was introduced around the middle of the 16th century BC, and was used to fashion some of the first glass vessels. Core forming involves the application of glass to a removable core supported by a rod. There is no

Electric Cut Glass Lamp
Video

Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes this electric cut glass lamp. Six lamps in this style are known, and all of them are cut in the same pattern. The manufacturer has not been positively identified. One of these lamps was purchased in Chicago in the late 1930s or early 1940s, and

The Morgan Cup
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes the Morgan cup. The rarest and most elaborate luxury vessels of the early Roman Empire are cameo glasses. These objects were inspired by relief-cut gems of banded semiprecious stones, such as onyx. Glassmakers cased (covered) objects of one color with

Rummer with Raven Seal
Video

Listen as curator Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk describes this George Ravenscroft piece. In March 1674, the English glassmaker George Ravenscroft applied for a patent to make colorless lead glass. Unfortunately, this glass was prone to crizzling, a chemical instability that results in an attack by

Beth She'arim Slab
Video

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes the Beth She'arim slab. As in earlier times, Roman glassmaking and glassworking often took place in separate locations. Glassmakers melted raw materials to produce glass. Glassworkers formed the glass into finished objects. Finally, glass

Blaschka Case (Technique- Museum App)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes flameworking (or lampworking), the technique used by the Blaschka's to create the objects in this case at the Museum. The display tells the story of two remarkable lampworkers, Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf, who created in glass

King Amenhotep II
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes the glass portrait of King Amenhotep II. Ancient glass sculpture is very rare. This is one of the earliest known glass portraits. It probably shows the head of Amenhotep II, who was ruler of Egypt about 60 years before Tutankhamen. The craft of

Fakes & Forgeries
Video

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes glass fakes and forgeries. A fake is a genuine object that has been altered or "improved," usually to enhance its value. A forgery is a copy or imitation of an object, made to deceive people (usually prospective owners) into believing

Ewer with Lion Mask
Video

Listen as curator Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk describes this Venetian ewer, made with milk glass canes and decorated with applied lion-mask prunts (small ornaments that are like medallions stuck to the outside of a vessel). Differently patterned milk glass canes were and are used to make glass

Bottle with Handles
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes a glass bottle with handles. Although glass vessels were never as cheap as earthenware, they had several advantages. They were easy to clean, they did not impart an odor to their contents, and they allowed one to see the contents even when the vessel was

Trick Goblet
Video

Listen as curator Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk describes this trick goblet, which holds a separate "straw" whose finial resembles the head a stag. To drink from it, one has to suck the liquid through the mouth of the stag while covering a hole in the stem of the vessel. Thus, this glass

Ribbon Glass Cup
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes a ribbon glass cup. A new variety of mosaic glass was introduced in the first century BC It was "ribbon" mosaic, and the ornament consisted mainly of lengths (not slices) of canes arranged in geometric patterns. This concave-sided cup is a

The Corning Ewer (Technique- Museum App)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make the Corning Ewer, an outstanding example of Islamic relief-cut cameo glass. A layer of transparent light green glass was applied to a layer of colorless glass. Most of the outer layer was then cut away, leaving the

Mosaic Glass Tabletop
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes this elaborate mosaic glass tabletop. The tabletop was submitted by the papal government to the Paris Exposition Universelle, in 1867. It consists of a large disk of white marble, inlaid in the pietra dura technique. The more than 2000 glass pieces

Sasanian Cup
Video

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes this Sasanian cup. An example of Sasanian craftsmanship, this is a small bowl cut with relief bosses. It was probably made in Iran. The surfaces of the bosses are concave. The surrounding glass has been cut back to leave the bosses standing in

Replica of Portland Vase
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes this replica of The Portland Vase, an ancient Roman cameo glass object that was taken to England from Italy in 1783. The fame of the Portland Vase and of Josiah Wedgwood's replicas, played a major role in the establishment of cameo glassmaking in

Ewer Signed by Ennion
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes an ewer signed by Ennion. The discovery that vessels could be formed and decorated by inflating a gob of glass in a mold permitted large numbers of virtually identical objects to be produced quickly and inexpensively. The first-century Roman writer Pliny

Reynolds Family Matter- Technique
Video

Listen as curator, Tina Oldknow, describes the object "Family Matter" by American artist Jill Reynolds.

Core Formed Vase- Technique
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique of making a core-formed vessel. The technique of core forming, which was introduced around the middle of the 16th century BC, was used to fashion some of the first glass vessels. Core forming involves the application of glass to a

Bottle with Handles- Technique
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique of making a glass bottle with handles. Although glass vessels were never as cheap as earthenware, they had several advantages. They were easy to clean, they did not impart an odor to their contents, and they allowed one to see the

Tazza with Medici Arms (Technique- Museum App)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the techniques used to make this glass object. This Tazza is enameled with the coat of arms of the Medici family combined with crossed keys and a papal tiara, suggesting that they were made for a member of the church, most probably either Pope Leo

The Corning Ewer
Video

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes the Corning Ewer, an outstanding example of Islamic relief-cut cameo glass. A layer of transparent light green glass was applied to a layer of colorless glass. Most of the outer layer was then cut away, leaving the decoration in relief. Although

Rummer with Raven Seal- Technique
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make this Ravenscroft goblet. In March 1674, the English glassmaker George Ravenscroft applied for a patent to make colorless lead glass. Unfortunately, this glass was prone to crizzling, a chemical instability that results in

Verzelini Goblet (Technique- Museum App)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make the Verzelini goblet. Venetian glassmakers were hired in England during the 16th century. One of them was Giacomo Verzelini. In 1571, he was brought to London by Jean Carré, a French native and owner of the Crutched

Ancient Egyptian Furnace
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes an ancient Egyptian furnace. This is a full-scale model of a furnace that was used for making glass at Tell el-Amarna, Egypt, nearly 3500 years ago. The model shows half of the furnace. The lower part was constructed in a pit, with only the dome above

The Morgan Vase
Video

Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes the Morgan Vase. The Victorian sense of "good taste" emphasized ornate works. Some glassmakers met this demand by creating dramatic color effects. Several American factories produced Peachblow glass, which had a surface that shaded from

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