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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Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De Proprietatibus Rerum
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The encyclopedia titled De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the properties of things) was one of the most influential and widely published pedagogical works of the late medieval period. Originally written in Latin in the mid-13th century, it contained 19 books in a single volume that was meant to encompass

Antonio Neri, L’Arte vetraria, 1612
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As the Italian Renaissance entered its last century and Galileo Galilei was using his telescope to advance the science of astronomy, a Florentine priest named Antonio Neri was writing a guide for glassmakers that would inform their craft for the next 200 years. Titled L’Arte vetraria (The art of

The History of Science and Technology in the Rakow Library
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The scientific resources housed in the Rakow Library chronicle the mutual history of glass and science. They reveal how glass was both a subject and a tool of scientific study. They also highlight the different channels of scientific communication, beginning with the Medieval manuscript of the

Antonio Neri: Alchemist, Glassmaker, Priest
Article

One of the most interesting figures in the history of glass lived four hundred years ago in Florence, Italy. He was an alchemist, a glassmaker and a Catholic priest. His name was Antonio Neri and he worked for a prince from the Medici royal family. 1  Neri is famously known as the author of the

Islamic, Byzantine, or Roman? An Unusual Fragment from the Smith Collection
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Among the objects from the collection of Ray Winfield Smith that are in The Corning Museum of Glass, one relief-cut fragment has provoked widely divergent views about its identity. 1 The object (Fig. 1), which Smith acquired in Cairo, may be described as follows: Fragment with eagle [55.1.148].

Two 19th-Century Forgeries of Gold Glasses in The Corning Museum of Glass
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In 1927, Gustavus Eisen published a group of "gold glasses" that he attributed to the period between the late third and sixth centuries A.D. 1 These objects, however, have long been recognized as forgeries. Examples were offered to the British Museum in 1909, but they failed to impress O.

The Seasons Vase
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The "Vase des Saisons" is the name given by Jean de Foville to a cameo glass bottle in the Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. (Figs. A, B, C "Alabastron en verre camée" (Camée.623)). The object may be described as follows: H. (as restored) 16

Roman Dichroic Glass: Two Contemporary Descriptions?
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Dichroic (two-colored) glass is so called because it appears to be one color in reflected light and another color when light shines through it. Only a handful of Roman dichroic glass objects are known to exist. The most famous of these is the Lycurgus Cup, which is opaque green in reflected light

The Corning Ewer: A Masterpiece of Islamic Cameo Glass
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The Corning Ewer (Figs. 1-5) is the finest known example of Islamic cameo glass. Shown in London in the 1976 exhibition "The Arts of Islam” 1 the ewer was acquired by The Corning Museum of Glass in 1985. 2 This article describes the object and compares it with other Islamic cameo glasses, with

Red Glasses from Beirut
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In his monumental study of documents from the Cairo Genizah, the late S.D. Goitein drew attention to a letter requesting, among other items, "a wickerwork basket with red glasses from Beirut, and if they cannot be had, white glasses." 1 The letter, which is written in Arabic but with

A Conversation Between Rakow Commission Artist Andrew Erdos and Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass
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The artwork of Andrew Erdos, the Museum’s 2013 Rakow Commission artist, is pop, sarcastic, and humorous, with a hint of social commentary. His over-the-top installations create a situation of sensory overload, which he sees as a reflection of everyday life in urban culture, especially the culture

An Anglo-Saxon Cone Beaker from Faversham
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The beaker (Figs. 1 and 2), in the collection of The Corning Museum of Glass, may be described as follows: Cone beaker [85.1.4] Anglo-Saxon Probably seventh century H. 17.6 cm, D. (rim) 8.5 cm. Transparent yellowish-amber glass with many bubbles. Rim outsplayed, turned inward and downward; body

Gold Ruby Glass
Article

Gold ruby is arguably one of the most beautiful colors of glass. Beyond its aesthetic qualities, there is an alchemical connotation: Since ancient Greek times, descriptions of the sorcerers’ stone agree that it was believed to be a red substance and the key to the transmutation of metals,

Glass House Money
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In the 19th century, paper currency was often used by businesses such as glassmaking facilities, as a means of paying their workers or their debts. The federal government began to issue paper currency in 1861, but before this time, most of these bills were issued by state-chartered banks. Glass

Antiquity Rediscovered
Article

Interest in the past is not a new phenomenon. Edward Gibbon wrote: “Yet I know the classics have much to teach…the temperate dignity of style, the graceful proportions of art, the forms of visible and intellectual beauty, the just delineation of character and passion…” [1] During the Renaissance,

Dale Chihuly: A Selective Biography
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Dale Chihuly, who was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1941, has become an internationally celebrated personality in contemporary art and design whose prominence in the field of contemporary studio glass is unmatched. He is a generous and charismatic individual with a forceful personality, who

Meet the Artist: Michael Glancy
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In 2013, the Museum received a group of five works in glass and metal by the American artist Michael Glancy as a gift from Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, Museum patrons and friends of the artist. One of Glancy’s 1998 sculptures, Crystal Obscura [2012.4.168], is made with colorless

Glass of the Romans
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Until about 50 B.C. glass objects could only be made slowly due to the limited techniques available. One bottle could take several days to make via casting or cutting techniques. Core-formed objects may have taken 45 minutes to create. Glass furnace technology was such that only small amounts of

The Mystery Slab of Beth She'arim
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Beth She'arim was a cemetery located in Galilee. It was one of the most sacred places in the ancient Jewish world. Just adjacent to its catacombs is a natural cave that had long ago been made into a large cistern for storing water. It apparently fell into disuse at the end of the 4th century

20th Century Lighting
Article

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

Making Window Glass by Hand: Crown & Cylinder Glass
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When you think of a window, you think of a flat piece of glass. But window glass didn’t always start out flat. It once began as a massive bubble on the end of a glassblower’s pipe. To flatten the bubble, the glassblower could spin it rapidly into a huge disk called a crown. After it was cool, the

Types of Glass
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Nearly all commercial glasses fall into one of six basic categories or types. These categories are based on chemical composition. Within each type, except for fused silica, there are numerous distinct compositions. Soda-lime glass  is the most common (90% of glass made), and least expensive form of

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