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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Grinding Glass
Video

Grinding is a process of removal by abrasion. People were grinding stone tools long before the discovery of glassmaking.

Lathe Cutting
Video

Here is everything you might want to know about how cut glass gets its decoration. Battuto cutting, much loved by contemporary Venetian glass artists and their followers, is also shown. Incredibly ancient in origin, the process is still widely appealing.

Dremel Tool
Video

The next time you're in the dentist's chair, know that the grinding you hear—and feel—could also be taking place on a piece of glass! The very same tool can be used by artists to create beautiful engraved effects.

Spiral Thread and Handle on Roman Bottle
Video

Decoration in glassblowing at the furnace doesn't get more basic than this. Although it looks easy, glassblowing students struggle for weeks with every step forward!

Hand Sanding Glass
Video

Everyone knows that wood can be sanded to change its finish; surprisingly, so can glass. Specialized grinding blocks coated with industrial diamonds are best, but regular sandpaper works too.

Ice Glass
Video

A spectacular demonstration unique to glassblowing, ice glass was widely popular in Low Country cities like Amsterdam during the 17th century. Did the abundant canals of Amsterdam and of Venice, where the process was invented, inspire this watery idea?

Making a Goblet from Parts
Video

It doesn't get more complicated than this! Here is the Renaissance Venetian way of making an ornate dragon-stemmed goblet. Pre-made parts are attached using small bits of molten glass as "glue."

(No sound) Façon de Venise Goblet
Video

This video shows the technique of making a Façon de Venise (a French term meaning "manner, or style, of Venice") goblet, an object in the exhibition Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style 1500-1750, which was on view at The Corning Museum of Glass from May 20, 2004, to January 2, 2005.

(No sound) Nuremburg Goblet
Video

This video shows the technique of making a Nuremburg goblet, an object in the exhibition Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style 1500--1750, which was on view at The Corning Museum of Glass from May 20, 2004, to January 2, 2005.

(No sound) Spanish Wine Glass
Video

This video shows the technique of making a Spanish wine glass, an object in the exhibition Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style 1500-1750, which was on view at The Corning Museum of Glass from May 20, 2004, to January 2, 2005.

(No sound) St. Augustin (Rouen) Goblet
Video

This video shows the technique of making a St. Augustin (Rouen) Goblet, an object in the exhibition Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style 1500-1750, which was on view at The Corning Museum of Glass from May 20, 2004, to January 2, 2005.

Heat Sensitive Glass
Video

Glass that gradually shades from one color to another has ingredients such as uranium and gold, which are sensitive to heat. When part of the object is reheated, it "strikes" or changes color. Heat-sensitive glass became very popular in the late 19th century. Many companies used heat

Twist Glass
Video

In the 1930s, the Pairpoint Glass Corporation introduced a bold new design called "twist glass," consisting of swirled stripes of ruby or deep blue glass and clear crystal. The complicated technique, already used in Sweden, required many stages including cold working. Watch as William

Sicilian Glass
Video

In the second half of the 19th century, many glass firms used experimental techniques to create decorative art glass. In 1878, the Mt. Washington glass company introduced Sicilian glass. As part of their marketing, the company claimed to have used lava, that is, molten rock spewed out by volcanoes,

Reticello
Video

Watch as William Gudenrath demonstrates the Reticello technique. Reticello (Italian, "glass with a small network"), is a type of blown glass made with canes organized in a crisscross pattern to form a fine net, which may contain tiny air traps.

Lifebuoy decanter
Video

Glassworkers made ring-shaped decanters as early as the Roman period. Due to their novel shape, much like buoys, the personal flotation devices carried on ships, decanters in the early 20th century were called "lifebuoy decanters." Watch as William Gudenrath demonstrates the technique.

Bubble Ball Paperweight
Video

Glass makers throughout history have gone to great lengths to eliminate all bubbles from glass. But here, we see bubbles purposefully put into the glass for their decorative effect. In this paperweight, the bubbles surround another gather of glass with twisted canes of colored glass. Watch as

Narrated Chevron Beadmaking Demonstration
Video

This 6-minute version of a Chevron bead demonstration, narrated by William Gudenrath, shows the various stages of creating a Chevron bead, from the hot, blown glass component, through the lapidary steps required to finish.

Tools of the Glassmaker
Article

Pictured below are the basic tools used by glassblowers working "at the furnace" (as opposed to those working "at the lamp"- "flameworking" or "lampworking"). They are pretty much unchanged since the first century AD. Incredibly, a Roman-period worker could

Depictions of Glassmaking in Diderot’s Encyclopédie
Article

Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert published their much acclaimed Encyclopédie in Paris from 1751 to 1765. To illustrate their entries, they commissioned several hundred engraved images depicting artistic crafts and common trades in preindustrial France. Since pictorial representations of

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