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.

Pages

Prince Rupert's Drop and Glass Stress
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
Article

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
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 %

Pages