Category: Curious and Curiouser

Illustrations from manufacturing books like Ge…

Illustrations from manufacturing books like Georg Agricola’s 1556 “De re metallica” serve as important evidence of what glass furnaces looked like in a time before photography. Do you see similarities between this glasshouse and glass studios today? Explore more historical images of glassmakers in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library,” on view through February 17.

Georgii Agricolae De re metallica (Georgius Agricola’s On the nature of metals), Georg Agricola (pseudonym for Georg Bauer, German, 1494–1555), Basel, Switzerland: probably Apvd Hieron Frobenivm et Nicolavm Episcopivm, 1556. CMGL 93693.

The Portland Vase, a 2,000-year-old cameo gl…

The Portland Vase, a 2,000-year-old cameo glass vase, inspired the popular imagination upon its arrival in England in the 18th century. Its complicated manufacture coupled with the British obsession with ancient Greek and Roman culture inspired Josiah Wedgwood to create a ceramic replica. Explore more material relating to the legendary Portland Vase in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library,” on view through February 17. 

Reproduction of the Portland Vase, Josiah Wedgwood, Etruria, England, about 1790. 92.7.2. Purchased with donated funds from the Clara S. Peck Endowment.

The New York firm of Buchholz and Zelt sent de…

The New York firm of Buchholz and Zelt sent design drawings embellished with glass jewels to their producers in Bohemia. These jewels served as inspiration and a guide to workers as they created the glass designs. See other design drawings decorated with glass in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library,” on view through February 17. 

Design drawing for decanter and cosmetic jar with jeweled embellishments, Buchholz and Zelt, New York, New York, United States, about 1900-1930. CMGL 134170.

Flameworker Bandhu Dunham was inspired to cr…

Flameworker Bandhu Dunham was inspired to create this kinetic sculpture after researching itinerant glassworkers and their working glass steam engines at the Rakow Library. His engine “The Crystal Gem,” is named after an engine built by itinerant glassworker George Woodroffe 1876. See Dunham’s “The Crystal Gem” in action at “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library.” 

The Crystal Gem, Bandhu Scott Dunham, Prescott, Arizona and Corning, New York, United States, 2006. Lent by The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass. RR26605.1. 

Just in time for Halloween, we’re taking a l…

Just in time for Halloween, we’re taking a look at reliquaries–containers for holy relics. The transparency of glass makes it easy to see the bones of venerated saints held inside. Explore the relationship between glass and death in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library,” on view through February 17. 

Krautstrunk (Reliquary Beaker), Tyrol, Austria, 1475-1525. 70.3.23.

Many 19th-century glasshouses issued scrip, …

Many 19th-century glasshouses issued scrip, or credit that could only be redeemed at their company store. Often decorated with images of glassmakers at work, these pieces of glasshouse money tell us a lot about how glasshouses worked in the past. See more glasshouse money in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library.” 

Twenty-five cent money scrip, Redford Glass Company, Troy: M. King, probably 1831-1851. CMGL 167618.

The workmen who created the 200-inch disk fo…

The workmen who created the 200-inch disk for Corning Glass Works certainly help give the viewer an idea of exactly how large this disk is. The Rakow Library’s holdings relating to the 200-inch disk serve as an inspiration to those who wish to explore the limits of their glassmaking abilities. How does the Rakow Library inspire you? Share your inspirations with using #RakowInspired and learn more about the 200-inch disk in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library.” 

[Slide of workmen standing in front of 200" disk with one man inside center of disk], 1935. George V. McCauley papers. CMGL 116539.

For 19th-century New Yorkers, what could be …

For 19th-century New Yorkers, what could be more entertaining than watching Mr. Finn make glass on Broadway? Luckily for them, this handbill announced that Mr. Finn’s stay on Broadway had been extended due to demand. See more of the Rakow Library’s holdings related to itinerant glassworkers in “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library.” 

Exhibition of Fancy Glass Working No. 202, Broadway: Mr. Finn, New York: J. Booth & Sons, probably 1828. CMGL 163865.

Glassmakers and peddlers weren’t the only prof…

Glassmakers and peddlers weren’t the only professions that could be seen wearing glass in prints! Can you see the glass bottles this publican, or bar manager, is wearing in this 19th-century print? See more of these curious prints in our exhibition, “Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library.” 

The publican, G. E. Madeley, 1830. CMGL 140672. 

Watch with your own eyes as our talented flame…

Watch with your own eyes as our talented flameworkers show you the process behind creating stunningly realistic looking glass eyes at 2:45pm daily. Then take a walk to the Rakow Research Library to see Curious and Curiouser and discover more curiosities in glass.