Glass Dictionary

Glass Dictionary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z All
Abrasion
The technique of grinding shallow decoration with a wheel or some other device. The decorated areas are left unpolished.
(1) A group of Mediterranean, Asian, and African plants with large, spiny leaves; hence (2) ornament that resembles the leaves of the species Acanthus spinosus.
Acid etching
The process of etching the surface of glass with hydrofluoric acid. Acid-etched decoration is produced by covering the glass with an acid-resistant substance such as wax, through which the design is scratched. The object is then immersed in hydrofluoric acid, or a mixture of dilute hydrofluoric acid and potassium fluoride is applied to etch the exposed areas of glass. Acid etching was first developed on a commercial scale by Richardson’s of Stourbridge, England, which registered a patent in 1857. An effect superficially similar to weathering can be obtained by exposing glass to fumes of hydrofluoric acid to make an allover matte surface.
The process of making a glossy, polished surface by dipping the object, usually of cut glass, into a mixture of hydrofluoric and sulfuric acids. This technique was developed in the late 19th century.
The process of acid-etching a trademark or signature into glass after it has been annealed, using a device that resembles a rubber stamp to apply the acid.
(from Greek) The name sometimes given to globular or pear-shaped objects with a narrow neck and mouth. The function of these objects is uncertain. The word was originally applied to a device, invented in the second century B.C., in which a closed, water-filled vessel, when heated, was made to rotate by jets of steam issuing from one or more projecting, bent tubes. Most surviving aeolipiles, however, are Islamic; they are believed to be containers. See also Grenade
Agate glass
Glass marbled with brown, blue, green, and yellow swirls in imitation of chalcedony and other banded semiprecious stones. See also Calcedonio
air trap
An air-filled void, which may be of almost any shape. Air traps in stems are frequently tearshaped or elongated and spirally twisted. See also Diamond air trap, Pegging, Twist
Air twist
A type of decoration in the stems of 18th-century and later drinking glasses made by twisting columns of air.
Alabaster Glass
A type of translucent white glass, similar to opal glass, first produced in Bohemia in the 19th century. In the 1920s, Frederick Carder (1863- 1963) introduced alabaster glass at Steuben Glass Works in Corning, New York. Carder’s alabaster glass has an iridescent finish made by spraying the object with stannous chloride and then reheating it.
Alabastron
(from Greek), alabastrum (from Latin) A small bottle or flask for perfume or toilet oil, usually with a flattened rim, a narrow neck, a cylindrical body, and two small handles.
Ale Glass
A type of English drinking glass for ale or beer. Ale glasses, first made in the 17th century, have a tall and conical cup, a stem, and a foot. They may be enameled, engraved, or gilded with representations of hops or barley.
Alembic
(from Arabic al-anbiq, “the still”) An apparatus used for distilling.
Alkali
In glassmaking, a soluble salt consisting mainly of potassium carbonate or sodium carbonate. It is one of the essential ingredients of glass, generally accounting for about 15-20 percent of the batch. The alkali is a flux, which reduces the melting point of the major constituent of glass, silica.
Almorraja
(Spanish), almorratxa (Catalan) A rose water sprinkler with many spouts, made in northern Spain between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Amberina
A type of Art Glass that varies in color from amber to ruby or purple on the same object. This shaded effect is due to the presence of gold in the batch. The object is amber when it emerges from the lehr, but partial reheating causes the affected portion to become red or purple. Amberina, developed by Joseph Locke (1846-1936) at the New England Glass Company in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, was patented in 1883.
Amen glass
A rare type of English wineglass with a drawn stem. The bowl is decorated by diamond-point engraving with verses from the Jacobite hymn followed by the word “Amen,” and with emblems associated with the Jacobite uprising of 1715. See also Jacobite glass
Amphora
(from Latin) A jar with two handles.
Amphoriskos
(from Greek, “small amphora”) A small jar with two handles, used for perfume or toilet oil in the pre-Roman and Roman periods.
Amulet
A charm believed to protect the wearer against evil or to bring good fortune.
Ancient Glass
A term frequently used to mean all pre-Roman and ancient Roman glass.
(German) Two types of glass colored by adding uranium oxide to the batch. Annagelb is yellow, and Annagrün is green. They were developed by Josef Riedel (1816-1894), who named them for his wife, Anna, and they were made from 1834. See also Uranium glass
Annealing
The process of slowly cooling a completed object in an auxiliary part of the glass furnace, or in a separate furnace. This is an integral part of glassmaking because if a hot glass object is allowed to cool too quickly, it will be highly strained by the time it reaches room temperature; indeed, it may break, either as it cools or at some later date. Highly strained glasses break easily if subjected to mechanical or thermal shock. See also Lehr
Applied Decoration
Heated glass elements (such as canes and trails) applied during manufacture to a glass object that is still hot, and either left in relief or marvered until they are flush with the surface. See also Marquetry and Pick-up decoration. See also Marquetry, Pick-up decoration
Applique
In glassworking, a bit of hot glass, usually small and disk-shaped, attached to the surface of an object for decorative purposes. Appliqués can be decorated by pressing them in a mold before they are attached, or they can be stamped after they are attached.
Arabesque
(1) In Islamic art, an intricate pattern of interlaced ornament consisting of curvilinear stems and tendrils that terminate in leaves; (2) in Renaissance and later European art, a pattern of interlaced curvilinear stems, scrolls, and leaves, sometimes containing animal motifs.
Argand lamp
An oil-burning lamp with a glass chimney, named for the Swiss physicist and inventor Aimé Argand (1750-1803), who invented the tubular wick burner in 1782. Argand lamps are efficient because the tubular wick feeds oxygen to the flame and the chimney increases the draft.
From French, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, an exhibition in Paris in 1925. A style of design that originated in the 1920s and was popular in western Europe and the United States in the 1930s. Art Deco is distinguished by simple, streamlined shapes and frequently by nonrepresentational motifs.
Art glass
(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.
Art Nouveau
(from French, “new art”) An international late 19th- and early 20th-century decorative style characterized by organic foliate forms, sinuous lines, and non-geometric, “whiplash” curves. Art Nouveau originated in Europe in the late 1880s, and reached the peak of its popularity around 1900. In America, it inspired, among others, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The name is derived from La Maison de l’Art Nouveau, a gallery for interior design that opened in Paris in 1896. The German term for Art Nouveau is Jugendstil.
Aryballos
(from Greek) A small globular flask with two handles, used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to contain toilet oil.
At-the-fire
The process of reheating a blown glass object at the glory hole during manufacture, to permit further inflation, manipulation with tools, or fire polishing.
At-the-flame
See Flameworking
Aurene
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.
Aventurine
(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.
(Italian) A small quantity of glass that joins the stem and the foot of goblets and similar forms.