Telescope Quest: Days 13 & 14

Marvin Bolt, the Museum’s curator of science and technology, traveled to Europe last fall to research some of the world’s oldest telescopes. Read along to hear about his adventures and discoveries.

Zeiss logoJena, Germany, has a strong optical glass tradition that goes back to the 1840s. Carl Zeiss, later joined by Ernst Abbe and finally by Otto Schott, invented the concept of specialty glass. By methodically changing glass recipes to create many kinds of optical glass – used in cameras, medical devices, and planetarium systems, for example – they began to develop glasses with a variety of very specific properties. The Zeiss firm logo is based on the two kinds of glass – crown glass and flint glass – used to make an achromatic microscope, the motivation for the three innovators to join forces in 1884. Read more →

Notable Acquisitions: Four Figures Chandelier

The sculptor and designer Dan Dailey begins all of his creations with a drawing. The four whimsical figures on this chandelier— two male and two female—seem to have leapt straight out of one such drawing. Dailey works with his multidisciplinary studio team, which is charged with interpreting these imaginative ideas into three-dimensional form in glass and metal, to make this transformation possible. The angular forms of the figures, fashioned out of plated metals and topped with illuminated glass heads, are positioned in dancing poses around the rim of a large blown glass shade.

Four Figures Chandelier

Four Figures Chandelier, Dan Dailey, Kensington, NH, 2007. Gift of Gary Hoffman in memory of lleene Hoffman.

In addition to being a pioneer in studio glass and influencing numerous artists during his prolific career, Dailey is a storyteller. Human and animal figures, which abound in his work, are full of life, color, and personality. Moreover, they are always connected to a larger narrative, which is sometimes simple, sometimes complex, and often humorous or ironic.

Dailey was introduced to glass and metal as an art student in the 1960s. He earned his B.F.A. in 1969 at the Philadelphia College of Art in Pennsylvania, and his M.F.A in 1972 at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. After graduating, Dailey was awarded a Fulbright grant to study at the Venini glassworks on the island of Murano in Italy for a year. By 1973, he had established the glass department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, where he has taught for many years.

Dailey began exploring lighting fixtures as a platform for his art early in his career. Since the 1980s, lighting and architectural commissions have become a major part of his oeuvre. This chandelier is the first example of lighting by Dailey to enter the Corning Museum’s collection.

Watch an interview with Dan Dailey.


For more information on Dan Dailey’s lighting, see Dan Dailey, ed. Joe Rapone, New York: Abrams, 2007. For more on the artist, see Perry A. Price, ed., Visions Realized: The Work of Dan Dailey, Boston: Fuller Craft Museum, 2012; and Dan Dailey: Simple Complexities in Drawings and Glass, 1972–1987, [Philadelphia]: Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts, 1987.

Whitefriars: Microscopes and Reveling in the Invisible

This post comes from Laura Hashimoto and Bonnie Hodul, Rakow Library interns who are helping conserve the Whitefriars stained glass cartoon collection over the summer in conjunction with West Lake Conservators. Read more about this project and the collection in previous posts.

We were thrilled to discover that our summer internship coincided with the Rakow Research Library’s exhibition Revealing the Invisible: The History of Glass and the Microscope, which showcases the microscope and its evolving forms from the 17th to 20th centuries! In addition to going on a behind-the-scenes tour with one of the exhibition’s curators, we are fortunate enough to work among these fantastic objects each day. By bringing together rare books and archival material from the Rakow’s collection, didactics explaining innovative applications of glass in the scientific community, and displays of the various microscopes that have been created over the past few centuries, this exhibition really got us thinking about how these tools come into play in conservation.

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Telescope Quest: Day 12

Marvin Bolt, the Museum’s curator of science and technology, traveled to Europe last fall to research some of the world’s oldest telescopes. Read along to hear about his adventures and discoveries.

The oldest surviving telescope in the world – at least with clear evidence that it’s the oldest – has no connection with astronomy at all. Instead, it was made for the Pommersche Kunstschrank, a cabinet of curiosities made by Phillip Hainhofer for the Duke of Pomerania. The original cabinet was destroyed in World War II, but its contents, including this telescope, survive and are on display in the Kunstgewerbmuseum (Decorative Arts Museum) in Berlin.

The telescope is made of a paper tube covered with lovely blue marbling.

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Blaschka Glass Marine Creatures Exhibition Opens May 14, 2016

Specimen of Blaschka Marine Life: Ulactis muscosa (Nr. 116), Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, Dresden, Germany, 1885. Lent by Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. L.17.3.63-54.

This May, The Corning Museum of Glass will present Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, an exhibition featuring nearly 70 exquisitely detailed glass models of marine invertebrates made by the legendary father-and-son team. Created as scientific teaching aids in the late 19th century, the models capture the diversity and splendor of aquatic life more than 100 years ago. Read more →

Revealing the Mysteries of Venetian Glassmaking Techniques through new Online Resource

This morning, The Corning Museum of Glass released its first-ever scholarly electronic resource, The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian Glassworking by artist and scholar, William Gudenrath. A culmination of a lifetime of research, this digital resource details the techniques used to make glass on Murano, Venice’s historic glassmaking island, between about 1500 and 1700, a period known as “the golden age of Venetian glass.” Through 360˚ photography and high-definition video, complete reconstructions of Venetian glassmaking techniques unknown for centuries are now revealed.

Dragon-Stem Goblet, Venice, Italy, 1630-1670. 51.3.118.

Detail of Dragon-Stem Goblet, Venice, Italy, 1630-1670. 51.3.118.

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The Batchshed Project: Exploring Indigenous Glass

This post comes from Dr. Glen Cook, chief scientist at The Corning Museum of Glass.

Professor Fred Herbst stokes wood into the firebox of one of Corning Community College’s wood-fired kilns. These well-drafted kilns can achieve temperatures in excess of 2200°F.

Professor Fred Herbst stokes wood into the firebox of one of Corning Community College’s wood-fired kilns. These well-drafted kilns can achieve temperatures in excess of 2200°F.

You may be familiar with words that have been created to designate the area from which a specific raw material is derived, such as watershed—the runoff land that feeds into a river system or lake. Other terms recently coined refer to other fundamental resources that are local to an area, like foodshed, and fibershed. I’ve coined the term “Batchshed” to describe the raw glass-making ingredients that come from a specific locale, that come together in the fire of locally harvested wood, to make “indigenous glass.” Read more →