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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Robert Willson
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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

Mastering the Art of Nature: A Conversation with Paul Stankard
Video

A strong understanding of light combined with his ability to recreate organic beauty has allowed Paul Stankard to master capturing the essence of nature in his work. His love of glass as a material is evident, and may be just one of the many reasons why his career has been so successful. The Shops

Harvey K. Littleton and the American Studio Glass Movement
Article

Harvey Littleton is internationally acclaimed and recognized for his tireless work in  %%founding%% and promoting the American Studio Glass movement.  The movement was “born” in 1962, during two seminal glassblowing workshops at The Toledo Museum of Art.  The workshops were led by Littleton, a

Does Glass Flow?
Article

(No, It Doesn't Flow—read on for details) Early one spring morning in 1946, Clarence Hoke was holding forth in his chemistry class at West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. "Glass is actually a liquid." the North Carolina native told us in his soft Southern tones. "You can

Finding the Right Recipe: Borosilicate Glass
Article

Otto Schott, the pioneering German glass chemist, made a glass that could reliably do something that didn’t seem possible: endure sudden, uneven temperature shifts without shattering. The key, Schott discovered in 1882, was to have a critical amount of the element boron in the glass recipe. Schott

Birth of a New Industry: Fiberglass
Article

"If necessity is the mother of invention, then for the glass fiber industry, adversity is the father."     -William Boeschenstein, Owens-Corning Fiberglas, 1995 The world’s largest bottle plant stood empty. Prohibition and the Depression had crushed the demand for bottles. American bottle

The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory
Article

A spectacular and large Tiffany stained glass memorial window has been installed in the Museum’s modern glass gallery. It is the first time that this window has been on view at the Museum since its donation in 1996. Titled The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory, the window was designed by

What is Glass?
Article

Glass is a rigid material formed by heating a mixture of dry materials to a viscous state, then cooling the ingredients fast enough to prevent a regular crystalline structure. As the glass cools, the atoms become locked in a disordered state like a liquid before they can form into the perfect %

Morgan Cup
Article

The Morgan Cup [52.1.93] is a Roman cameo glass of the first century A.D. It may have been found in the ancient city of Heraclea Pontica, modern Eregli, Turkey. The cup was once in the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (hence its name). It came to the Museum in 1952 as the gift of Arthur A.

Toots Zynsky
Article

When I hear music, it translates into color.—Toots Zynsky Toots Zynsky’s distinctive heat-formed  filet de verre  (glass thread) vessels enjoy a widespread popularity and deserved acclaim for their often extraordinary and always unique explorations in color. Defying categorization, her pieces

The Glass Giant
Article

For the American astronomer George Ellery Hale, bigger was always better. In 1897, at the age of 29, he had become director of Chicago’s new Yerkes Observatory, whose 40-inch refracting telescope remains the largest instrument of its kind in the world.  The lenses of refractors collected and

An Unusual Fragment of Cameo Glass
Article

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,

“Carder” Design Reassigned
Article

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 a Dichroic Cage Cup in The British Museum
Article

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

Early Islamic Gold Sandwich Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass
Article

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

Historical Perspectives: Katharine Lamb Tait, 1895–1981
Article

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

Blaschkas’ Glass Botanical Models (1886–1936)
Article

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

Blaschkas’ Glass Models of Invertebrate Animals (1863–1890)
Article

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

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