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.
A highly corrosive acid that attacks silicates such as glass. Pure hydrofluoric acid dissolves glass, leaving a brilliant, acid-polished surface.
The process of breaking away the edge of a glass object with a grozing iron or pliers in order to shape it.
A type of decorative glass developed by Orrefors of Sweden in 1916. The design is carved, engraved, or etched on a parison of colored glass, which is then reheated and cased in a thick layer of transparent glass of a different color, and inflated.
Decoration that consists of narrow vertical grooves (flutes). Fluted Vase
A misnomer for English and American lead glass. The term came into use in 1674, when George Ravenscroft’s new glass formula included ground, calcined flint as a source of silica. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term was applied to decolorized glass, even when it contained no flint. Pitcher
Clay capable of being subjected to a high temperature without fusing, and therefore used for making crucibles in which glass batches are melted. Fire clay is rich silica, but it contains only small amounts of lime, iron, and alkali.
The process of completing the forming or decoration of an object. Finishing can take the form of manipulating the object into its final shape while it is hot, of cracking off before annealing, or of cutting, enameling, grinding, or polishing.
A fired silica body containing small amounts of alkali, and varying greatly in hardness depending on the degree of sintering. It is covered with glaze, which may also be present interstitially among the quartz grains within the body. The term “glassy faience” is often used to describe a faience in
(French, “manner, or style, of Venice”) Glass made in imitation of Venetian products, at centers other than Venice itself. Façon de Venise glass was popular in many parts of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Winged Goblet
A synthetic material, copper calcium tetrasilicate, with a distinctive blue color. In antiquity, Egyptian blue was made by heating together silica, lime, and a copper-containing ingredient. It is often confused with faience and misleadingly called frit.
(1) Several types of glass with newly developed surface textures, shaded colors, or casing, made in the United States from about 1870 and in Europe between about 1880 and 1900; (2) more generally, especially when written “art glass,” any ornamental glassware made since the mid-19th century. Royal
(1) The process whereby glass becomes partly crystallized as it cools (usually too slowly) from the molten state; (2) the crystals formed by this process. Devitrification can also occur on the surface as a result of unsuccessful annealing or accidental heating to a high temperature. It is not
A popular term for colorless lead glass, which has a high refractive index and consequently is particularly brilliant. In the United Kingdom, glass described as crystal must contain a defined percentage of lead oxide. Today, the word is often used to describe any fine glass tableware. Cordial Glass
(Italian, “crystal”) A term first used in Venice in the 14th century to describe glass that resembles colorless rock crystal. Most Venetian cristallo, however, has a gray or brownish tint. Goblet
A part of the glass that differs in composition from the surrounding matrix. This difference produces a change in the refractive index, which enables the cord to be seen as a streak and so spoils the appearance of the glass.
A type of decorative glass developed by Frederick Carder (1863-1963) at Steuben Glass Works in Corning, New York, before 1917. Most Cintra glass was made by picking up chips of colored glass on the parison and then casing them with a thin layer of (usually) colorless glass. Cintra Vase
A thin, monochrome rod, or a composite rod consisting of groups of rods of different colors, which are bundled together and fused to form a polychrome design that is visible when seen in cross section. Bar Rod Mosaic glass
A grooved strip of lead or (rarely) another metal, generally with an H-shaped cross section, used to join separate parts of glass windows. St. Matthew
(Italian, “chalcedony”) Glass marbled with brown, blue, green, and yellow swirls in imitation of chalcedony and other banded semiprecious stones. Calcedonio was first made in Venice in the late 15th century. Ewer
Objects with elaborate, deeply cut patterns that usually cover the entire surface and are highly polished. In the United States, the vogue for brilliant-cut glass lasted from about 1880 to 1915. Vase in "Rookwood" Pattern
A mixture of alcohol and turpentine, used as lamp fuel in the 19th century. Burning fluid, which was dangerously explosive, was replaced by kerosene in the late 1850s.
A tool made from a block of wood hollowed out to form a hemispherical recess. After it has been dipped in water to reduce charring and to create a “cushion” of steam, the block is used to form the gather into a sphere before it is inflated.
(German, “smooth cut”) A style of engraved decoration in which the relief effect is enhanced by polishing the ground part of the intaglio. Blankschnitt decoration is frequently found on glasses engraved in the German city of Nuremberg in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A style of decorative art favored by the middle class in Germanic Europe between about 1815 and 1848. The name is derived from Gottlieb Biedermeier, the pseudonymous author of the satirical verses of Ludwig Eichrodt (1827-1892) and Adolf Kussmaul (1822-1902). During the period in which the
The word used to describe the multifaceted wheel-engraved surface that resembles beaten metal. Martelé Ebony Asymmetrical
The mixture of raw materials (often silica, soda or potash, and lime) that is melted in a pot or tank to make glass. Cullet, as well as minor ingredients such as colorants, can be added to the batch to help the melting process.
(from Spanish) (1) A plant, Salsola soda, which grows extensively on seashores in the western Mediterranean and the Canary Islands; hence (2) an impure alkali made by burning plants of this and related species, formerly used in the manufacture of soap and glass.
(from French aventure, “chance”) Translucent glass with sparkling inclusions of gold, copper, or chromic oxide, first made in Venice in the 15th century. Aventurine glass imitates the mineral of the same name, a variety of translucent quartz spangled with mica or other minerals. Cup
A type of ornamental glass with an iridescent surface made by spraying the glass with stannous chloride or lead chloride and reheating it under controlled atmospheric conditions. Aurene was developed by Frederick Carder (1863-1963) at Steuben Glass Works in Corning, New York, in 1904. Blue Aurene
A term frequently used as a synonym for glass. It is misleading because glass is not a metallic substance, and its use is discouraged.