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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Ennion and His Legacy: Mold-Blown Glass from Ancient Rome
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At the end of the first century B.C., glassmakers working in the environs of Jerusalem made a revolutionary breakthrough in the way glass vessels were made. They discovered that a gob of glass could be inflated at the end of a hollow tube. This technical achievement—glassblowing—made the production

Jaroslava Brychtová and Stanislav Libenský
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In 1950, Jaroslava Brychtová joined the design studio of the glassworks at Železný Brod, directing the architectural glass department. Working with her father, the sculptor Jaroslav Brychta, she began to experiment with casting, molding, and melting glass during the 1940s. In 1954, Stanislav

The Thomas Panel
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The Thomas Panel (Fig. 1 [86.1.1]) is an example of late Roman opus sectile wall decoration made of glass. The object, which is said to have been found in the Faiyum, 100 kilometers southwest of Cairo, was acquired by The Corning Museum of Glass in 1986. Part one of this paper (by D.W.) describes

René Lalique
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Glass is a wonderful substance. Everything makes it an incomparable plastic medium in the hands of an ingenious artist, offering his imagination and talent almost limitless scope for discovery. ―René Lalique 1 From 1884, when his first jewelry designs were displayed at the Musée du Louvre, until

Countless Variations: Lens Combinations
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The world began to realize that so far it had only toyed with glass. Now a brand new material was born.     -Walter Kioulehn, Odyssey of the 41 Glassmakers, 1959 By the mid-1800s, there were still only two kinds of optical glass: soda-lime crown glass and lead-containing flint glass. Opticians

Designing for a New Century: Works on Paper by René Lalique and His Contemporaries
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In 1851, the first international exhibition of culture and industry took place in London. Known as The Great Exhibition and the Crystal Palace Exhibition, this showcase for the world of industry and design began a tradition that lasted longer than a century and undoubtedly influenced global trends

“Flexible” Roman Glass?
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There are three sources that concern the story of the “flexible” glass of first century Rome: Pliny’s Natural History, Petronius’ Satyricon, and Dio Cassius’ Roman History. Petronius (d. 63 A.D.) published the story before Pliny, who completed his encyclopedia in 78 A.D. Dio Cassius’ story is much

Glass in the Price Edict of Diocletian
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In A.D. 301, Emperor Diocletian attempted to halt a rapid rise in prices by issuing his Edictum de pretiis (Edict on prices), which established maximum prices and wages throughout the Roman Empire. Copies of the edict were inscribed in Latin or Greek on marble panels and posted in prominent places.

Glass in the Epigrams of Martial
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The Verses of Martial, which were composed between A.D. 83 and 102, mostly in Rome, contain 12 explicit references to objects made of glass (for which Martial uses the noun vitrium or the adjective vitreus), together with two references to "Vatinian cups" (calices Vatinii), which appear

East Meets West: Cross-Cultural Influences in Glassmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries
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Beginning in the 13th century, the philosophies, scientific discoveries, and artistic achievements of East Asia gradually became known in Europe. The Chinese began large-scale international trade during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), exchanging goods with Western merchant travelers. 1 The

The Estonian Glasshouse of Hüti, 1628–1664
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Before his death, Maks Roosma, Professor in the Department of Glass, State Art Institute, Tallinn, Estonia, sent a brief article summarizing the results of his research into the history of the most important early glasshouse in Estonia. Professor Roosma had conducted an archaeological excavation on

A Recently Discovered Cage Cup
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This paper describes and discusses a late Roman cage cup that appeared on the market in 1986 and was acquired by The Corning Museum of Glass in 1987. 1 The hemispherical glass cup has metal fittings which indicate that, at the time of burial, it was meant to be suspended. This raises the

Byzantine Silver Stain: Another Example?
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In last year's Journal of Glass Studies [Vol. 42], Mark T. Wypyski and the present authors described a fragmentary vessel decorated with silver stain, and concluded that it is Byzantine and of about the 10th century. 1 We compared the fragment with the celebrated bowl with painted ornament in

Roman Glass Boats
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This note discusses the function of a group of Roman glass models of boats. Six boats are known. They were found at Pompeii (two examples, including Fig. 1), 1 Palombara in Sabina, 2 Aquileia 3 and Santa Elena di Melma near Treviso in ltaly, 4 and St. Aldegund near Koblenz in Germany. 5 All of the

The Transition from Natron to Plant Ash in the Levant
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The basic components of early glasses were soda, lime, and silica. In the Mediterranean region and Western Asia, these three components were usually introduced in the form of two ingredients: either natron (soda) and sand containing shell fragments (silica and lime), or ash derived from halophytic

Medieval Glassmaking in the Levant
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In 1973, a sponge diver reported the discovery of an underwater shipwreck at Serçe Limani on the south coast of Turkey, opposite Rhodes. The wreck was investigated by Professor George Bass, of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, between 1977 and 1979. His investigation revealed that part of the

A Conversation Between Liza Lou, Contemporary Sculptor and Installation Artist and Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass
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Tina Oldknow: I thought we would begin our conversation by discussing one sculpture in particular: Continuous Mile. How did the idea for this work come about? Liza Lou: Continuous Mile is a meditation on process. It’s a project that is spread across seven different townships in KwaZulu-Natal. The

Bees and Butterflies: Two Drawings by Harry Clarke
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In March 1996, the Rakow Library of The Corning Museum of Glass acquired two important drawings by the early 20th-century Irish stained glass artist Harry Clarke 1 (1889–1931). One of these drawings, created in 1914, is a detailed design for Clarke's "St. Gobnet" window in the Honan

Weathered Archaeological Glass
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Glass is found at archaeological excavations in a variety of conditions. The glass condition can range from pristine, where no deterioration is visible, to so heavily degraded that practically all the glass has been transformed into corrosion products. The deterioration of the glass surface is

Early Modern Printed Books at the Rakow Library, 1450-1550: An Introduction
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A select group of rare books in the Rakow Research Library’s collection serve not only as repositories of early glass knowledge but also as artifacts of fine bookmaking. They were written by ancient authors and printed some 1,000 years later during the first century of modern printing (about 1450

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio's De architectura (On architecture) printed in Rome, 1486
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In the canon of architectural writings, this ancient Roman Latin text stands at the summit. It was written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (fl. first century B.C.) sometime in the late first century B.C. Today’s architecture students find it on their reading lists, and it is still available in paperback

Strabo's De situ orbis printed in Venice, 1472
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When Johannes de Spira died in 1470, the printing business he had started was taken over by his brother, Vindelinus. Two years later, Vindelinus published Strabo’s De situ orbis, an ancient geographical text consisting of 17 books. A first edition of this work had been issued in Rome in 1469 by

Aristophanes' Nine Comedies and Aristotle's Works printed in Greek by Aldus Manutius in Venice, 1498
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One of the most learned scholar-printers in Venice was Aldus Manutius (1449–1515). He designed a Greek type font that, beginning about 1495, he used to print a series of texts by the ancient Greek masters. The Rakow Research Library has two of these original Aldine editions in its collection. One

Dio Cassius' Roman History printed by Robert Estienne in Paris, 1548
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One might say that the 16 th century scholar-printer Robert Estienne (1503-1559) inherited from Aldus Manutius the mantle of Greek printing. At the very least, he must have felt an affinity with Aldus based on his love for the ancient Greek writings and his desire to render them in modern

Flavius Josephus’ books on Jewish history printed by Johann Schüssler in Augsburg, 1470
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One of the most reliable sources of ancient Jewish history is Flavius Josephus (about 37–97 A.D.), a native of Jerusalem and a learned statesman who became a favorite of Roman emperors. His two chief works, De bello Judaico (The Jewish war) and De antiquitate Judaica (Jewish antiquities), are bound

Isaac Newton, Opticks: Or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light, 1704
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Isaac Newton (1642–1727) is often described as the greatest of all scientific thinkers. He is most famous, perhaps, for having formulated the universal law of gravitation, as well as the laws of motion. However, his interests also included alchemy, theology, mathematics, and the branch of physics

Udagawa Yoan and William Henry, Seimi Kaiso: A Japanese chemistry text in seven volumes, published in Edo (Tokyo), 1837
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Seimi Kaiso plays an important role in the remarkable story of Western scientific influences in Japan. When this work first appeared in 1837, Japan had been almost completely isolated from the larger world for two centuries. The Japanese were not allowed to travel abroad, and only the Chinese and

Vannoccio Biringuccio, De la pirotechnia, 1540
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The technology of printing with movable type, which had been invented in the mid-15th century, was still in its youth when Vannoccio Biringuccio’s comprehensive work on metallurgy, De la pirotechnia, was published in Venice in 1540. The phenomenon of the printed book spread knowledge and encouraged

Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus), Historia naturalis, about A.D. 77
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First printed edition published by Johannes de Spira, Venice, 1469 A chief idea in ancient thought and in Renaissance Humanism was the centrality of the individual in the world. Accordingly, the natural world was considered to be less a manifestation of a divine creator and more a stage for the

Lorenzo Magalotti, Saggi di naturali esperienze, 1667
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The Saggi di naturali esperienze / fatte nell’Accademia del cimento sotto la protezione del serenissimo principe Leopoldo di Toscana e descritte del segretario di essa Accademia is a landmark publication in the history of experimental science. It describes experiments conducted by members of the

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