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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Light Bulb Tester (Family App)
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The single light bulb is a replica of the first light bulb blown in Corning, NY, for inventor Thomas Alva Edison. The large object is a light bulb tester. Before purchasing light bulbs in a store, you would use the tester to see if your light bulb worked. 

English Folding Screen- Family
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This screen, made in London, England, is decorated with birds, frogs, and fish—even a spider and a butterfly. Sixteen birds are shown; 13 are easy to spot, but three are more difficult. How many can you find? Clara S. Peck Endowment.

Richard Wistar Bottle- Family
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The first successful glassmaker in America was Caspar Wistar who began a factory in New Jersey. Before his factory, all glass was imported from England and Europe. This bottle is one of three that are known to come from his factory.

Whimsies- Family
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Whimsies are what modern collectors call pieces that were made by individual glassmakers for fun or for show. Glassmakers would make these after their regular work shifts.

Bertil Vallien, Unknown Destination II- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Unknown Destination II by Swedish artist Bertil Vallien. Vallien created a series of boats that remind us of journeys. He filled the boats with objects that reference the past and time.

Tagliapietra Endeavor- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Endeavor by Italian artist Lino Tagliapietra, one of the greatest living glass artists. These 18 boats evoke the gondolas of his native Venice. Each boat was blown and then cold worked to create the different surface textures.

Bedside Lamp (Family App)
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These bedside lamps, made in New England in the 1820s or 1830s, burned whale oil. This was readily available and it gave a good light. Whale oil remained popular until about 1860, when kerosene became available. Gift of Preston Bassett.

Gallé Dragonfly Coupe- Family
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Emile Gallé was an artist of genius, a poet, and a horticulturalist. He designed remarkable glass, ceramics, and furniture. The huge dragonfly that adorns this chalice-like coupe reflects Gallé's profound love of nature. Gift in part of Benedict Silverman, in memory of Gerry Lou Silverman.

Reynolds Family Matter- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes the object Family Matter by American artist Jill Reynolds.

American Glass- Family
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This display of glass produced in America in the 18th and 19th centuries includes useful objects made in the 1700s, fancy art glass of the late 19th century, and glass for windows, lighting devices, and storage jars.

Ruffner Shirts, Cherries, and Snowflakes, of Course- Family
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Learn more about "Shirts, Cherries, and Snowflakes, of Course" by American artist Ginny Ruffner.

Marioni Chartreuse Pair- Family
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This particular type of pitcher is modeled after an ancient civilization in Italy called the Etruscans. It's called a becco di oca, which means "goose beak" in Italian.

Glass Slipper- Family
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The glass slipper was made in Corning, New York to be worn in a movie about Cinderella. The movie was never made, so the slipper was never worn. Gift of Corning Glass Works.

Bird-shaped Vessel (Technique- Family App)
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Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the techniques used to make this bird-shaped vessel. This was an ancient Roman form of packaging. It was filled with perfume, then the tail was sealed by heating it in a flame. To extract the perfume, the user broke off the tip of the tail.

Mechanical Glass Theater (Technique- Family App)
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Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make this mechanical glass theater. This miniature theater shows the Wedding at Cana. Look closely and you can see that it is made of shells, rock crystal, fabric, and pieces of glass. Some of the figures are attached to

The Morgan Cup- Family
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This cup is named for JP Morgan, the famous banker who once owned it. It is the only known ancient Roman cameo glass vessel that has survived intact. The scene shows worshippers at a shrine.

Toso Chess Set- Family
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The pieces in Gianni Toso's Chess Set, made in about 1981, are in the form of Jewish and Roman Catholic worshippers. The kings are a rabbi and a bishop. The tiny details of the figures were made by softening glass in a flame and molding it into the desired shapes.

Engraving Lathe- Family Technique
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Traditional glass engravers use copper wheels mounted on a lathe. The wheels come in many shapes and sizes. An abrasive slurry drips onto the wheel as the engraver works on the design.

Marquis Marquiscarpa- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Marquiscarpa by American artist Richard Marquis. Using techniques that originated in Italy, Marquis pays homage to the great Italian designer Carlo Scarpa.

Lišková Anthem of Joy in Glass- Family
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Anthem of Joy was created by the Czech designer Věra Liškova. It was made by softening, inflating, and manipulating tubes of borosilicate glass (like Pyrex) over a torch. The individual parts were assembled by fusing. Gift of Art Centrum.

Bird-shaped Vessel (Family App)
Video

This was an ancient Roman form of packaging. It was filled with perfume, then the tail was sealed by heating it in a flame. To extract the perfume, the user broke off the tip of the tail. 

Yoruba Crown- Family
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People have decorated with glass beads for hundreds of years. This crown was made in Nigeria in the mid-20th century.

Libenský Installation- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Meteor, Flower, Bird by Czech artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová. Libenský and Brychtová convey three messages with this sculpture: Meteor, on the left, represents Corning as an international center for the study of glass; the flower, in the

Karel Black Cube- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Black Cube by Czech artist Marian Karel. Despite its name, Black Cube is not really a cube. Each side slightly bulges as though there is some sort of energy pushing the walls outward.

Warrior Vase- Family
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This unusually large piece of cameo glass is filled with action! The scene of warriors fighting is taken from a medieval Chinese story.

McElheny Untitled (White)- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Untitled (White) by American artist Josiah McElheny, who reproduced well-known modern designs in opaque white glass. He pays homage to classic 20th-century design.

Bottle with Handles- Family
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The discovery of glassblowing was the second most important event in the history of glassmaking after the discovery of glass itself. Because of the ease and speed of manufacture, blown glass vessels began to be used in daily life.

Ancient Egyptian Furnace- Family
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This is a full-scale model of half an Egyptian glass furnace. The original is more than 3500 years old.

McElheny Untitled (White)- Family Technique
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Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the techniques American artist Josiah McElheny used to create Untitled (White). McElheny reproduced well-known modern designs in opaque white glass. He pays homage to classic 20th-century design.

Three Citrus Fruits (Family App)
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The Venetians were clever glassmakers. They could make bowls, goblets, and decorative objects such as these citrus fruits, which were meant to be suspended as ornaments.

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