Featured Rakow Research Library items from The Science of Glassmaking: Eight Centuries of a Magical Art.
In Le Voyage de Hierusalem par mer & par terre
This print shows a man standing “next to the stream where glass objects are made.”
- De la pirotechnia : libri .x. dove ampiamente si tratta non solo di ogni sorte & diuersita di miniere, ma anchora quanto si ricerca intorno à la prattica di quelle cose di quel che si appartiene à l'arte de la fusione ouer gitto de metalli come d'ogni altra cosa simile à questa / composti per il s. Vanoccio Biringuccio Sennese. Con priuilegio apostolico & de la Cesarea Maesta & del illustriss. Senato veneto.LibraryIllustration of a Furnace
Vannoccio Biringuccio (1480–1539?)
In De la pirotechnia
This early book on metallurgy predates Georg Agricola’s De re metallica by 16 years. Chapter 14 of book 2 describes the process of making glass, the purification and remelting of glass frit, the structure of the furnace, the preparation of the pots, and the method of glassblowing. It also includes an illustration of a furnace.
- LibraryManuscript Page
In Mappae clavicula
The Mappae clavicula, which has been translated as “Little key of drawing or painting,” includes instructions for making, gilding, and staining glass. It provides a thorough treatment of pigments, and it is one of the earliest manuscripts addressing pre-modern technological materials and processes. The Rakow Library owns one of the most complete copies of this work.
- On divers arts; the treatise of Theophilus. Translated from the medieval Latin with introd. and notes by John G. Hawthorne and Cyril Stanley Smith.LibraryRecipe for Saffron Yellow Glass
Presbyter Theophilus (about 1070–1125)
This 12th-century manuscript by Theophilus was one of the earliest works to explain how a gather of glass on a blowing iron could be made into sheet glass or a hollow vessel. Theophilus also described the art of making stained glass, including recipes for coloring glass.
- Johannis Kunckelii Churfürstl. Brandenb. würcklichbestallt-geheimden Cammer-Dieners, Ars vitraria experimentalis, oder, Vollkommene Glasmacher-Kunst : lehrende als in einem aus unbetrüglicher Erfahrung herfliessendem Commentario, über die von dergleichen Arbeit / beschriebenen sieben Bücher P. Anthonii Neri, von Florentz, und denen darüber gethanen gelehrten Anmerckungen Christophori Merretti ... (so aus den Ital. und Latein. beyde mit Fleiss ins Hochteutsche übersetzt) : die allerkurtz-bündigsten Manieren, das reineste Chrystall-Glas ... ; samt einem II. Haupt-Theil, so in drey unterschiedenen Büchern, und mehr als 200. Experimenten bestehet, darinnen von Glasmahlen, Vergulden und Brennen ...LibraryLampworkers
Johann Kunckel (1637?–1703)
In Ars vitraria experimentalis: Oder vollkommene Glasmacher-Kunst...
- Johann Kunckels ... vollständige Glassmacherkunst worinnen sowol dessen Erläuterungen über Anton Neri sieben Bücher von dem Glassmachen und Dr. Merrets hierüber gemachte Anmerkungen als auch eine grosse Anzahl nützlich und angenehmer Versuche nebst einem Anhang von den Perlen und Edelsteinen enthalten sind.LibraryLampworkers
Johann Kunckel (1637?–1703)
In Johann Kunckels...vollständige Glassmacherkunst...
Johann Kunckel’s work is based on Antonio Neri’s L’arte vetraria (1612) and Christopher Merret’s translation of that volume, Art of Glass (1662). The plate illustrating male lampworkers in the 1679 edition has, for an unknown reason, been changed to show female lampworkers in the 1756 edition.
- LibraryRecipe for Calcedonio
Giovanni Darduin (1585–1654)
In Il ricettario Darduin: Un codice vetrario del Seicento trascritto e commentato by Luigi Zecchin
English translation of the manuscript text:
To make a beautiful chalcedony
Take 25 pounds of crystal frit [and] 2½ pounds of red lead (vermilion), mix together, and throw into a crucible, and as soon as it is melted, take iron splinters, and sieve through a large strainer; then take another, finer strainer, and sieve that which issued from the first strainer, then take that which remains in the second sieve (because those that are too large, as well as those that are too small, are not good). Take from this 2½ ounces and throw into the crucible, mixing it well, let rest for 2–3 hours, then take ramina rossa [cuprous oxide], ¾ ounce, about 5 sazi [about one sixth of an ounce], and throw into the crucible, mixing well, and let rest for 5–6 hours, during that time mix 4 times, and let rest, then work it and it will be beautiful.
In this I have very little faith.
- Valuable secrets concerning arts and trades : or, approved directions, from the best artists, for the various methods of ... ; containing upwards of one thousand approved receipts relative to arts and trades.LibraryInstructions for Softening Crystal
In Valuable Secrets concerning Arts and Trades
The alchemist who wrote these peculiar instructions must have had a reason for using mutton and lamb’s blood, but whatever properties they may have had that were deemed essential to the process of softening crystal are a mystery today.
- A booke of sundry draughtes principaly serving for glasiers: and not impertinent for plasters, and gardiners : besides sundry other professions. Whereunto is annexed the manner how to anniel in glas: and also the true forme of the fornace, and the secretes thereof.LibraryHandwritten notation
Inserted in Booke of Sundry Draughtes, 1615
“Take Borax zinj in powder, of fine white sand Zi melt them together in a large close crucible in the 2d chamber in the above furnace for half an hour: then take out the crucible & when cold break it: & at the bottom you will find pure hard glass capable of cutting common glass, almost like a diamond.
This experiment duly varied will lead us to very great improvements in the art of glass making, enamelling & making artificial gems
Universal Magazine for Aprill 1752, p. 166.”
- The Travels of Sir John Mandeville : a manuscript in the British Library / introduction and commentaries on the plates by Josef Krása ; translated from the Czech by Peter Kussi.LibraryThe Pit of Memnon
About 14th–15th century
In The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
“In the forefront there is an oval, roofed oven with two openings containing pans for melting. Glassmakers are dipping the tips of their long pipes into the molten mass and are blowing containers of various sizes. To one side there is an extension for cooling the glass, while on the other side an assistant is adding fuel to the deep oven.”
– Excerpt from the commentary on this illustration
- Vetrate: arte e restauro. Dal trattao di Antonio da Pisa alle nuove tecnologie di restauro. / Giordana Benazzi...[et al.].LibraryTitle Page of Memmoria del magisterio de fare fenestre de vetro
Antonio da Pisa
In Vetrate: Arte e restauro
- Georgius Agricola De re metallica, tr. from the 1st Latin ed. of 1556, with biographical introduction, annotations and appendices upon the development of mining methods, metallurgical processes, geology, mineralogy & mining law, from the earliest times to the 16th century, by Herbert Clark Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover.LibraryPlates Depicting 16th-Century Glass Manufacturing
From Georgius Agricola De re metallica by Georg Agricola
De re metallica was first published in 1556. These detailed drawings are some of the first published illustrations of glassmaking.