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.

Glass in Nature
Article

Although most people think of glass as a man-made material, it is found in many forms in the natural world. A range of glasses are found in—and formed by—nature. Volcanoes spew molten rock, lightning strikes desert and beach sands, meteorites pound the earth, and sea sponges and microscopic

Josh Simpson's 100-Pound Megaplanet
Article

In April 2005, The Corning Museum of Glass commissioned the artist Josh Simpson to create the world's first 100-pound glass paperweight, which will be part of Simpson's series of solid glass spheres he calls "planets" or " Megaplanets." It will be the 1,000th

East Meets West: Cross-Cultural Influences in Glassmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Article

Beginning in the 13th century, the philosophies, scientific discoveries, and artistic achievements of East Asia gradually became known in Europe. The Chinese began large-scale international trade during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), exchanging goods with Western merchant travelers. 1 The

On a Pool of Tin: Float Glass
Article

The auto and building industries boomed after World War II. Plate glass was in extremely short supply. Twin-grinding—used all over the world to make the glass—was too costly and too slow to keep up with the demand. Could high-quality glass be made without grinding and polishing? Alastair Pilkington

One Step Closer: The Iron Glassblower
Article

A little more than 2,000 years ago, a Roman glassworker did something that dramatically changed the course of history. He blew a puff of air through a hollow %%rod%% into a gob of hot glass. The gob inflated into a bubble. At that moment, glassblowing was born. Glassblowing provided a way to make

Staying On-line: Coated Glass
Article

Glass windows are great, but they waste energy. A glass pane provides only slightly more insulation than nothing at all. Even so, builders were using more, and bigger, windows. Then, in 1973, the energy crisis hit. Harvard University chemist Roy Gordon knew that a tin oxide coating would make

Glass and the Space Orbiter
Article

The space shuttle has triple paned, optical-quality windows. Thirty-seven window panes in eleven different sizes and shapes are produced for each Orbiter. The %%fused%% %%silica%% outer panes of the forward windshields are designed to withstand high atmosphere reentry temperatures. The inner,

A Break with Tradition: Fused Silica
Article

After you see something work, then you realize that it’s not so complicated after all.      – J. Franklin Hyde It’s exquisitely pure and remarkably transparent. It expands and contracts very little with changes in temperature. It is the simplest of all glasses, yet for years it was nearly

With a Burst of Energy: Glass That Amplifies Light
Article

It was an idea that might have remained buried in scientific journals. Instead, it led to a device that gave modern telecommunications a much-needed boost. In the 1960s, Elias Snitzer, a physicist at American Optical, added rare earth elements to glass. These elements can absorb light energy—and,

Getting the Whole Picture: Bundled Glass Fibers
Article

Glass rods could transmit light, but could they transmit an image? A professor at a French agricultural college found himself faced with that question in the 1890s while he was tinkering with an early version of television. Henri C. Saint-Rene needed to find a way to transmit an image onto his

Continuous Perfection: Optical-Quality Glass
Article

They make glass. By day and night, the fires burn on … and bid the sand let in the light.     -Carl Sandburg, In Reckless Ecstasy, 1904. To see the unseeable: the quest is unending. But lenses and prisms are only as good as their glass. Optical-quality glass must be flawless. Even tiny flecks,

Frederick Carder: The Early Years: An exploration of Carder’s years at Stevens & Williams
Article

Frederick Carder was born on September 18, 1863, in Brockmoor, Kingswinford, Staffordshire (now part of the English county of West Midlands), the son of Caleb and Annie Carder. His father and grandfather owned Leys Pottery, and by the age of 14, Frederick Carder had left school in order to start