PPP GLASS REFERENCE: Glossary of Glass Terms

March 1, 2010
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Ancient Glass
Generally refers to glass made before the Venetian era of glass making.

Anneal
To cool glass by reintroducing a completed object into an auxiliary part of the glass furnace and slowly cooling the object so that any strain created in the glass during the forming process may be released. The critical area for cooling is 800-1000°F.

Antique Glass
A trade term for glass that is more than 25 years old.

Blown Glass
The shaping of glass by blowing air through a hollow rod into the center of a molten glass gather (see Gather).

Cane
Any string or rod of glass.

Cold Shop
A glass-working studio that does not have furnace or glory hole (see Hot Shop).

Cut Glass
Grinding stones are worked wet to cut designs onto glass.

Direct Carving
Glass chunks may be carved, ground, chiseled or otherwise shaped like other sculpture materials.

Enameled Glass
Opaque glass colors melted onto glass surface. The colors are actually glass powders.

Engraving
Design cut or scratched on glass with diamond point, stone, metal or copper wheel. Usually more complex and flexible than cut glass work (see Cut Glass).

Etching
Glass may be etched by hydrofluoric acid (HFl), which likes silica. Dangerous.

Fire Polish
The reintroduction of an object into the furnace in order to smooth an irregularity. Also a technique used to retain a shiny surface to glass after it has been ground on a grinder or sandblasted.

Flashing
Very thin layer of colored glass that is fired or vaporized on base glass.

Gather
A ball of molten glass taken from a pot or furnace on the end of a hollow blow rod.

Gilded
Metals, such as gold, fired onto glass.

Glory hole
A high-temperature chamber used for reshaping glass either on a punty rod or blow pipe (see Blow Pipe, Punty Rod).

Hot Shop
A glass-working studio containing a furnace and glory hole; especially a glass-blowing studio.

Incalmo
Joining two or more blown sections while hot.

Iridescence
Thin laminated flakes of glass showing decomposition with age. Also artificial, as done by Tiffany.

Iridized glass
Glass whose surface is chemically treated to have a rainbow or iridescent appearance.

Kiln
Insulated chamber for heating and cooling glass or ceramics.

Kiln-Formed
Glass that is altered, fused, shaped or textured by the heat of a kiln.

Latticinio
Threads of white or colored glass within clear glass, sometimes lace-like in pattern.

Lamp Work
Any glass-working technique done with the direct flame of a torch; work with pre-formed glass rods and tubes.

Leaded Glass
Stained glass window held in place by lead cames.

Lost Wax Casting
The object is modeled in wax and cased in a ceramic or plaster mold. The mold is heated and the wax flows out; powdered or molten glass is poured into the mold.

Millefiori
Italian term meaning "thousand flowers," used to describe mosaic glass objects.

Mosaic Glass
Vessels or objects are built up of preformed elements of glass placed around or in a mold and slowly heated until the glasses fuse together.

Overlay
Blowing a bubble with color on the inside, the bottom is attached to a solid core and then the bubble is turned inside out, leaving a thin color "flash" on the outside.

Punty Rod
A solid metal rod used to transfer and hold glass when working with a glory hole (see Glory Hole).

Sandblasting
High-pressure air mixed with sand that is applied to the surface of glass to carve texture.

Slump
A technique used to form glass using a mold, heat and gravity.

Thermal Shock
Glass breakage caused by rapid or uneven heating or cooling.

Reprinted with permission from The Collector's Guide, www.collectorsguide.com.

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