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 Glass Question at our Rakow Research Library.

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Harvey K. Littleton and the American Studio Glass Movement
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Harvey Littleton is internationally acclaimed and recognized for his tireless work in founding and promoting the American Studio Glass movement. The movement was “born” in 1962, during two seminal glassblowing workshops at The Toledo Museum of Art. The workshops were led by Littleton, a Cranbrook

Genie in the Bottle: Glass Bulbs & TV Tubes
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In 1879, the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison was on the verge of a breakthrough. He had discovered a slow-burning filament that would glow for hours in the vacuum of a glass globe. But to create the first practical electric light, he needed a glass globe that would not implode when the air was

Mappae Clavicula
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The oldest of the Rakow Library’s holdings, this 12th-century Latin manuscript might best be described as a chemistry book for the medieval artist. The Mappae clavicula presents more than 200 recipes for making various substances used in art and craft. In these formulas, ingredients found in the

Elias Palme
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The firm of Elias Palme, one of several companies started by members of the Palme (or Pallme) family, was founded in Kamenický Šenov, Bohemia, in 1849. Most of the Palmes were glass cutters and engravers, and chandeliers were their principal products. Catalogs show table- and floor-size bronze and

Baccarat
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The Compagnie des Verreries et Cristalleries de Baccarat, the most famous name in French glass, was founded in 1764 by Monseigneur de Montmorency-­Laval, the bishop of Metz, as a way to utilize the wood on the heavily forested land of his estate. In its early years, the factory operated under the

Coalbourne Hill Glass Works
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The third English Company that made furniture for the Indian market was located in the Stourbridge area. This factory had been built early in the 19th century, and it was purchased by Joseph Webb in 1850. He was a cousin of Thomas Webb, owner of the famous glass firm of Thomas Webb & Sons, and

Jonas Defries & Sons
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One of the largest but least-known 19th-century English glass firms is Jonas Defries & Sons, which was located in the Houndsditch section of London from 1856 until the early 20th century. The company operated under various names for at least a century (an 1880 advertisement says that it was

F.& C. Osler
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F.& C. Osler was probably the largest European company that supplied glass objects to India. Its products sold there included both table wares and lighting devices. During the last quarter of the 1800s and the early years of the following century, Osler also made glass fountains and furniture

The Eastern Connection
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In the 19th century, at the very time when glassmakers were improving their skill in fashioning and annealing the large pieces that would be needed to create furniture, the number of contacts between Europe and countries to the east was increasing, and both England and France were expanding their

Glass Furniture in the 19th Century
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Today, it is not at all unusual to find glass tables and cabinets, as well as large glass lighting devices. But in the second half of the 19th century, when glass was first used in furniture on a commercial basis, it would have been truly remarkable to see such objects. The development of glass

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

Portland Vase Iconography
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The Portland Vase is the best-known ancient Roman cameo glass vessel. It is in the collection of the British Museum in London. For some pieces of art, the meaning of a figural scheme is clear; in others, the interpretation takes years to decipher; and in the %%case%% of the Portland Vase, scholars

From a Broken Flask: Laminated Safety Glass
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Edouard Benedictus, a set and costume designer for a French theater, wanted to make glass safer. He was disturbed by reports of people being disfigured by broken windshield glass during automobile accidents. How could windshields be made less dangerous? He recalled a curious incident that had

Lighting the Way: Fresnel Lens
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The most dangerous part of a sailing trip used to be returning to shore. Lighthouses were built to signal the safest route, but often the weak light from their lamps was not visible until too late. The large, thick lens that was supposed to project the light absorbed much of the signal.  Hollowing

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

Gold Ruby Glass
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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,

Fragile Legacy
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From their first commission for glass marine invertebrate models in 1863, to their later production of glass flowers for Harvard University’s well-known Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, Leopold Blaschka (1822 – 1895) and his son Rudolf (1857 – 1939) masterfully captured in glass

Perfume Bottles: From Design Table to Dressing Table
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Since ancient times, perfume bottles have served to contain the most subtle of mysteries: delightful, seductive scents. Before glassblowing, ancient Egyptian artisans fashioned exquisite containers from alabaster, metals, precious stones, and core-formed glass to hold their highly valued perfumes.

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

Chemistry of Glass
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Thousands of different chemical compositions can be made into glass. Different formulas affect the mechanical, electrical, chemical, optical, and thermal properties of the glasses that are produced. There is no single chemical composition that characterizes all glass. Typical glass contains formers

A Mold-Blown Bottle from the Workshop of Titianus Hyacinthus
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This note describes and illustrates a mold-blown square bottle with an inscription on the base. 1 Description The bottle (Fig. 1) is 18.9 centimeters high and is made of transparent bluish green glass. The body was blown in a mold with four vertical sections and a separate baseplate. The object is

The Flood of 1972
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A sign in the Museum’s Admissions Lobby features a red line and the words “High Water Level, June 23, 1972.” This simple label fascinates visitors, but only hints at the devastating story behind it. The marker doesn’t convey that the flood caught the region largely unaware in the early hours of

Prince Rupert's Drop and Glass Stress
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Theoretically, because of the nature of its atomic bonds, glass should be about five times as strong as steel. However, glass tends to have less strength than theory would suggest. One of the main reasons for its loss of strength is surface and internal stress. If glass is cooled too rapidly, high

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

Laboratory Studies of Some Glasses from Vergina
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Colorless Glasses in Antiquity Most glass objects of the second and first millennia B.C. were strongly colored, as are the precious stones they were meant to imitate. Those that were not intentionally colored usually had a pronounced greenish tint, owing to the presence of iron impurities

An Inlaid Glass Plate in Athens: Laboratory Examination
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Introduction In recent years it has become apparent that laboratory examinations of ancient glass might provide archaeologists and historians with valuable information about both ancient glass and the history of technology. At present several scientists working in this field are developing those

Leaf Beakers and Roman Mold-blown Glass Production in the First Century A.D.
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In 1985, The J. Paul Getty Museum acquired a Roman mold-blown vessel that dates to the first century A.D. 1 Made of pale yellow-green glass, the beaker was blown in a three-part mold. 2 Its exterior decoration consists of a simply designed foliate relief frieze of four vertical plants, each of

Glass Lantern, Research Shed Light on 1860 Political Group
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Late in 1993, The Corning Museum of Glass received as a gift a brass lantern with a red glass globe [93.4.102] inscribed "ELMIRA WIDE AWAKES/ G.L.SMITH/CAPTAIN" (Fig. 1). This lantern had a mid-19th-century look, and I thought it might be an early product of the Corning Glass Works. I was

Magnificent House Altar from 1500s Restored
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On August 2, 2007, a beautiful, fully restored 16th-century German house altar (59.3.39) was put on display for the first time since its acquisition by The Corning Museum of Glass in 1959. The altar is 49.6 cm tall, and contains seven reverse-painted glass panels. These depict scenes of the

Founders of American Studio Glass: Dominick Labino
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At the time that [studio glassworking] began, not one of us involved was aware of the speed with which it would spread. Not only nationally, but internationally. — Dominick Labino, undated manuscript Dominick Labino’s contributions to 20th-century glassmaking were wide-ranging and innovative.

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