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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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

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

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

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

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

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

Toots Zynsky
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When I hear music, it translates into color.—Toots Zynsky Toots Zynsky’s distinctive heat-formed  filet de verre  (glass thread) vessels enjoy a widespread popularity and deserved acclaim for their often extraordinary and always unique explorations in color. Defying categorization, her pieces

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

Pietro Bigaglia
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One of the most noteworthy contributors to the development of the first paperweight was the 19th century Venetian glassmaker Pietro Bigaglia. Bigaglia’s family owned glassmaking shops in Venice as early as 1674. He made mirrors as well as lamps and window panes decorated with filigree and

Louis Comfort Tiffany Paperweights
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Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, was born in 1848. At the time of Tiffany’s birth his father owned one of the most prestigious jewelry and silver stores in America. Tiffany grew up around the decorative arts and decided to become a painter in 1866 rather than attend

Masters of Studio Glass: Jiří Harcuba
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Heritage means to select the most valuable thing from history and hand it over to the next generation... Prehistorical rock engravings are closer to our contemporary artistic views than classical art. Other manifestations of the primary art of Australia, Africa, and Oceania as well as folk art

Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab
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Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab showcases the Museum’s signature design program, GlassLab, in which designers are invited to work with hot glass. The exhibition features over 150 design prototypes by nearly 50 international designers. Over the last decade, the field of design has

The American Studio Glass Movement
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The Beginning of the Studio Movement During the 1950s, studio ceramics and other craft media in the U.S. began to gain in popularity and importance, and American artists interested in glass looked for new paths outside industry. The catalyst for the development of studio glass in the United States

Robert Willson- Bringing Life to Solid Glass
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Anyone who has gazed into the clear depths of a paperweight knows how intoxicating solid glass can be. Glass in vessel form can be decorative, beautiful, even breathtaking, but one cannot escape the utilitarian. After all, it can hold our Cheerios. On the other hand, you would be lying to yourself

Blaschkas’ Glass Models of Invertebrate Animals (1863–1890)
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The story of the Blaschkas begins in the small town of Böhmisch Aicha (now Cˇesky´ Dub in the Czech Republic), where Leopold’s father continued the family tradition of flameworking. When Leopold was a student, his favorite  subjects were natural history and painting, and a visiting artist urged him

Masters of Studio Glass: Erwin Eisch
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A special exhibition of 22 vessels and sculptures by Erwin Eisch (German, b. 1927), one of the founders of studio glass in Europe, was on view at The Corning Museum of Glass from March 15, 2012, through February 3, 2013. The exhibition recognized Eisch for his achievements in developing glass as a

Master of Studio Glass: František Vízner
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In 1979, the Museum’s landmark exhibition, New Glass: A Worldwide Survey, introduced to the American public the work of a Czechoslovak glassmaker, František Vízner. Nearly 30 years later, the Museum presented Vizner once again at Corning as a studio glass master. Masters of Studio Glass: František

The Glass Flowers
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Before the development of high-speed moving image media, or fiberglass, naturalists and educators faced a quandary: it was often impossible to demonstrate exactly what an invertebrate looked like without a live specimen, because the spine collapses and color leaches out of one preserved in alcohol.

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,

Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired by Ancient Rome
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A groundbreaking exhibition produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum and The Corning Museum of Glass, Reflecting Antiquity: Modern Glass Inspired by Ancient Rome opened on October 18, 2007 at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, and ran through January 14, 2008. Then it traveled to The Corning Museum of

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

Medieval Glassmaking in the Levant
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In 1973, a sponge diver reported the discovery of an underwater shipwreck at Serçe Limani on the south coast of Turkey, opposite Rhodes. The wreck was investigated by Professor George Bass, of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, between 1977 and 1979. His investigation revealed that part of the

Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style, 1500-1750
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In Renaissance Europe, the compulsion to copy Venetian glassmaking styles and techniques was no simple fashion fad. The glass was clearly superior in almost every way. The glass was called “cristallo” because it was clear and colorless, a quality the Venetians achieved as early as 1440 by making it

19th Century French Paperweight Makers
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Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint-Louis Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint-Louis, which is named after the sainted King Louis IX, was founded in Lorraine, France, in 1767 and still exists today. Along with Baccarat, it nearly monopolized the French luxury glass industry for many years. In late

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