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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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 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

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,

Josh Simpson's 100-Pound Megaplanet
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In April 2005, The Corning Museum of Glass commissioned the artist Josh Simpson to create the world's first 100-pound glass paperweight, which will be part of Simpson's series of solid glass spheres he calls "planets" or " Megaplanets." It will be the 1,000th %

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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,

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

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

The Quest to See More: Glass Lenses
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Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins.    – Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, 1862 A glass lens. It’s nothing more than a curved piece of glass. So simple. So familiar. It’s changed the way we perceive the world. In 1608, when Dutch spectacle maker Hans Lippershey held up two lenses, one

20th-Century Bohemian & Czech Glass Timeline
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The history of glass in the Czech Republic dates from the 13th century, but it didn't became internationally known until the early 18th century when the Bohemians established a trade network, with merchants distributing the glassware throughout Europe, as well as to Jesuit missions in South

Daphne Ewer
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The Daphne ewer (55.1.86) was found about 1895. The evidence for its early history consists of a letter from Sch. Hochmann to R. W. Smith (September 1, 1952, copy on file at The Corning Museum of Glass). According to Hochmann, the ewer was found in a niche in a tomb at Kerch (ancient

20th Century Lighting
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Lighting, which includes lamps, chandeliers, and other forms of architectural lighting, is a diverse category of glassmaking that often combines utility with art. The Museum’s collection ranges from fragile ancient Roman oil-burning lamps to majestic 19th-century English chandeliers made for Indian

Joel Philip Myers and Steven I. Weinberg
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In 2007, The Corning Museum of Glass launched an exhibition series called Masters of %%Studio Glass%% with an exhibition of work by Joel Philip Myers and Steven I. Weinberg, two highly regarded studio glass innovators. Myers: Colorful Blown Work Joel Philip Myers’ work explores vibrant color, as

Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired by Ancient Rome
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A groundbreaking exhibition produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum and The Corning Museum of Glass, Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired by Ancient Rome opened on October 18, 2007 at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, and ran through January 14, 2008. Then it traveled to The Corning Museum of

Twentieth Century Czech Glass: Design in an Age of Adversity
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In  2005, the Museum presented three exhibitions of Czech and Bohemian glass. The exhibition, Design in an Age of Adversity, showcased a wide array of rare, colorful, and provocatively original vessels and sculptures—blown, hot-worked, engraved, etched, carved, and enameled. The pieces brought to

Hedwig Beakers
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Hedwig beakers form a small but famous group of vessels. They share several characteristics: the same form (they are beakers with a straight, tapering side), the same finishing techniques (they were decorated by cutting), and the same shallow faceting of the upper wall in order to display the

Contemporary Czech Sculpture
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Contemporary Czech glass has had a remarkable influence on the development of studio art glass worldwide, especially in the use of cast glass for small- and large-%%scale%% sculpture. From the 1970s to the present, Czechoslovak artists have become internationally recognized for their work in glass.

Beth Lipman: Still Life in Glass
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Like Dutch still-life painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, American artist Beth Lipman sees images of food as a metaphor for desire, consumption, decadence and consequence. But unlike the European painters— who were primarily male, she points out—Lipman works with colorless glass, creating

Mt. Washington and Pairpoint Glass
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Mt. Washington and its successor, the Pairpoint Corporation, was one of America’s longest-running luxury glass companies (1837-1957), one that rivaled its better known contemporaries, Tiffany and Steuben. It constantly reinvented and re-invigorated its business through creativity in texture,

Glass and the Space Orbiter
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The space shuttle has triple paned, optical-quality windows. Thirty-seven window panes in eleven different sizes and shapes are produced for each Orbiter. The %%fused%% %%silica%% outer panes of the forward windshields are designed to withstand high atmosphere reentry temperatures. The inner,

A Discovery Waiting to Happen: Glass-Ceramics
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Why did such an important discovery occur so late in the … history of glass, and why was an accident necessary to bring it about?      – Donald Stookey, 1977 Crystals are usually a glassmaker’s enemy. When they form in glass, crystals can change the properties of the material in unwanted ways.

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