All About Glass

You are here

Lampworking in the 1800s

Watch a functional, preserved 19th-century wooden lampworking table, complete with a leather bellows, in action. The Museum’s wooden table is equipped with a foot-operated bellows that acts as an air compressor, pushing air through two hollowed out wooden pipes built into the table. The crossed pipes have air outlets on all four sides of the table to allow up to four people to work around the bench. The air outlets are corked in each spot until needed. A specialized air manifold, or distributor, that holds five metal tubes, is plugged into the air outlet. All five are focused on a wick. The lamp is filled with alcohol and the wick is lit. Fine streams of air, created by the foot-operated bellows, pass through each of the tapered heads and converge to create a combined flame hot enough to melt glass.

A similar bench that belonged to Rudolf Blaschka is on display in the exhibition Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka on view at The Corning Museum of Glass May 14, 2016 to January 8, 2017.

Music: Amazing Plan by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.