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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Glass Harmonica Technique (Family App)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes how this glass harmonica was made. Benjamin Franklin invented this strange musical instrument. It was popular in the late 18th century. Sounds were made by running moistened fingers along the rims of the glasses. Some people were afraid that this

European Glass (Family App)
Video

The European glass cases in the Museum tell the story of glass from the Renaissance in the 15th century to 1900. The Venetians were the master glassworkers of the Renaissance. Later, different parts of Europe produced their own distinctive styles. 

Blaschka Case Technique- Family
Video

During their long careers, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka made many thousands of models of small animals and plants. They sold these all over the world, including to Harvard University. Can you guess which objects in this case are not made of glass?

King Amenhotep II- Family
Video

This small masterpiece is a 3,500-year-old portrait of an Egyptian king. Under certain conditions, glass "weathers" (deteriorates). When it was new, the head was deep blue. Centuries of burial have altered the surface to a stone-like tan color.

Cup with Gladiators (Technique- Family Tour)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make this cup with gladiators on it. Much like today, sports fans enjoyed drinking from cups decorated with pictures of their heroes. This cup is decorated with pictures of famous gladiators.

Origins of Glassmaking- Family
Video

We're now setting off on a unique voyage through the history of glass and glass making that started more than 3,500 years ago. In the case to your left, called The Origins of Glassmaking, you'll discover treasures from the first 1,500 years of glassmaking in the ancient world. The second

The Morgan Cup Technique- Family
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes how this glass cup was made.

Warrior Vase- Family Technique
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make this cameo glass vase. This unusually large piece of cameo glass is filled with action! The scene of warriors fighting is taken from a medieval Chinese story.

Drinking Horn- Family
Video

This drinking horn has a hole in the bottom. The drinker covered the hole with his thumb while the horn was filled. Then he lifted the horn above his face, removed his thumb, and let the liquid pour into his mouth.

Hedwig Beaker (Family App)
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This is a medieval mystery. No one is certain where or when this cut glass beaker was made. It is named for St. Hedwig of Silesia (modern Poland). Fewer than 20 of these beakers are known to exist.

Corning Cutting Shop- Family
Video

In the cutting room, a steam-powered shaft drove belts that turned the metal or stone cutting wheels. A glasscutter holds the object against the rotating wheel, which is fed with an abrasive slurry.

Punch Bowl- Family
Video

Between 1880 and 1915, more cut glass was made in Corning, New York, than anywhere else in the country. This punch bowl was made here by local glasscutters.

Mechanical Glass Theater (Family App)
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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 levers that allowed them to be moved.

Cylinder of Window Glass (Family App)
Video

One traditional way of making flat window glass was to start with a large cylinder like this one, cut off the ends, cut it lengthwise, and heat it in a kiln until it flattened. Gift of JE Springer.

Wedding Baskets- Family
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These three baskets were made to contain wedding gifts and are an example of an early form of recycling, as they were returned to their owners to be used again and again at other weddings.

Libenský Red Pyramid- Family
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Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Red Pyramid by Czech artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová. Libenský and Brychtová, a husband and wife team, collaborated for more than 40 years. These artists pioneered the technique of mold-melting, where chunks of glass are placed in molds,

St. Peter's Square- Family
Video

Examine the small mosaic in its gilded frame. From a distance, it looks like an oil painting. In fact, it's made of thousands of glass tiles, some no larger than the head of a pin.

Lišková Anthem of Joy in Glass (Family App)
Video

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.

Paperweights- Family
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes the stages of making a paperweight.

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