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History of Glassblowing

Learn the history of glassblowing from expert Todd Hansen in this Howcast video.


Hello, my name is Todd Hansen. We're here at the Art of Fire Contemporary Glass Blowing Studio in Laytonsville, Maryland. We're at I've been a glass blower for about twelve years now. I've got several different lines of glasswork that I work on, and I'll be talking to you about glass blowing. Historically, glass blowing's been around for at least, or glass working, has been around for at least thirty-five hundred years in various forms. It's thought that the first merchants who sailed around the Mediterranean were the ones to actually love glass. They would build their campfires when they would pull their boats on shore and build their fires to cook and they'd set their pots on blocks of natria or sodium. In certain locations, the glass, the sand underneath them was just right, the fire would be hot enough that it would melt the natria a little bit and the chemical reaction would actually form little streams of glass flowing down from underneath the pots. Some of them smart enough to figure out how that could be done on a repeatable basis, small solid forms were made. Around two thousand years ago the Romans were basically - I think the Romans are pretty well credited with really industrializing glass blowing, they gave us the two-bladed jacks that are so versatile to glass blowers now. They really industrialized the glass blowing process, made it more accessible for the common folk. Here in the US, around the sixties, the early sixties, the studio art glass movement became re-energized. Prior to that time, glass blowers were working in factories, but with small batches of glass and smaller furnaces, glass blowers were able to take their work into their own studios and do their own designs and creations. And now what we have, with the results of Harvey Littleton, Dominic Lubino, and those folks who started that movement, we have studios around the country and individual artists being able to create their own work.

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