Moving a 60,000-pound acquisition

In 2016, The Corning Museum of Glass was offered a donation of a large ribbon machine from OSRAM Sylvania/LEDVANCE Corp. in Wellsboro, Pa., along with a large selection of molds for the manufacture of light bulbs. Although the Museum already had a ribbon machine (an early version from the 1930s), the new machine was the most modern, largest, and fastest ever built, so CMoG decided to acquire it. The mechanization of glass making is an important part of the “story of glass” and the Museum has collected numerous machines over the years in an effort to save them from the scrapyard and preserve that part of the story.

Ribbon Machine #7, probably 1930-1935, 2002.8.2

Ribbon Machine #7, probably 1930-1935, 2002.8.2

The ribbon machine was conceived by William J. Woods in 1921, and designed in collaboration with David E. Gray. Molten glass sags through an opening to form a ribbon of glass, a part of which enters a mold; air pressure expands the glass to form an electric light bulb envelope. By moving this ribbon of glass across a sequence of orifice plates and molds, the machine produces a constant stream of bulbs, hour after hour. By 1926, a Corning Ribbon Machine could produce up to 300 light bulbs per minute; in 2016, the ribbon machine CMoG acquired could produce approximately 1,700 bulbs per minute.

Read Curator of Science and Technology Marvin Bolt’s blog post about the history of the machine and how it works. Read more →

Maintaining the shine at CMoG

When I first entered The Corning Museum of Glass, I was immersed in an experience that is unlike any other. The Museum’s extensive collection is hypnotic, drawing you in to admire each piece. Through the hustle and bustle of the crowds that often populate CMoG’s galleries, one can hear multiple whispers asking the same question: “How do they keep these pieces so clean?”

Dusting Fern Green Tower with a "muppet" wand.

Dusting Fern Green Tower with a “muppet” wand.

CMoG’s Collections and Exhibitions team is an all-seeing eye when it comes to maintaining the shine of the collection. The team, led by collections and exhibitions manager Warren Bunn, handles objects spanning 35 centuries. Many people assume that the team uses Windex, but the ammonia, dyes and perfume used in Windex could be harmful to such delicate works. “And it’s blue,” explains Bunn, “No cleaning products should ever be blue!” Instead, the team uses a solution of 90 percent deionized water and 10 percent denatured alcohol to clean the collections. Standard dusting wands (or Muppets, as the team likes to call them) are used to remove dirt and dust particles. About 80 percent of the team’s week consists of gallery maintenance, including changing light bulbs and checking display cases to see what works need to be tended to, cleaning cases and objects, and returning them to their specific locations. Read more →

Dr. Karol Wight Appointed to US State Department Cultural Property Advisory Committee

Karol Wight, president and executive director, The Corning Museum of Glass

Karol Wight, president and executive director,
The Corning Museum of Glass

Dr. Karol Wight, president and executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass, has been appointed to a U.S. State Department advisory post on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee. Former President Obama confirmed the appointment on January 11.

The Committee advises the president and other government officials on the establishment or renewal of memoranda of understanding designed to protect the cultural heritage of foreign countries; one goal of these measures is to ensure antiquities abroad are not illegally excavated and removed from their country of origin illicitly. The 11-person committee is made up of experts appointed by the president for three-year terms. Two members represent the interests of museums, of which Wight will be one; other members are experts in archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, or a related field, in the international sale of cultural property; and members representing the interests of the general public. Read more →

Recent acquisition: Come Unto Me

Imagine a mosaic 27 feet high and 20 feet wide. More than 90 years ago, an exterior mosaic of this size was proposed for the main entrance of Broadway Temple in northern Manhattan. The installation, in the likeness of this watercolor design, would feature more than half a million pieces of glass and take up over 500 square feet of space.

Watercolor design for glass mosaic. Jesus Christ, robed in white and standing on a rainbow, surrounded by decorative borders.

Watercolor for “Come unto me: I will give you rest,” Tiffany Studios (New York, N.Y.). Ecclesiastical Department, [1923-1925]. CMGL 164735.

In the mid-1920s, plans were underway to demolish Broadway Temple’s predecessor in order to make way for construction of the George Washington Bridge. The replacement church, in its new location on Broadway and 173rd Street, was originally intended to include 40 stories with community features such as a swimming pool, bowling alley, playgrounds, apartments, and a cafeteria. Tiffany Studios was selected to design its centerpiece: a huge glass mosaic – always illuminated – that featured Christ, draped in white and standing atop a rainbow, framed within decorative borders. His outstretched arms would have beckoned parishioners inside had the installation come to fruition. Read more →

The Studio Announces 2017 Artists-in-Residence

Martin Janecky
February 13-March 20; Public lecture on March 9

Study of the Dia De Los Muertos, at Corning Museum of Glass 2016. By Martin Janecky.

Study of the Día De Los Muertos, at Corning
Museum of Glass 2016. By Martin Janecky.

Martin Janecky began his career with glass at the age of 13 and later explored sculpting methods in the Czech Republic. Janecky teaches and demonstrates around the world, including at The Studio. In March 2016, he was an Artist-in-Residence, during which time he experimented with opaline glass made at The Studio to further his sculptural work. The following week he was a Guest Artist in the Amphitheater Hot Shop, and created a body of work inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). Read more →

CMoG to make waves with GlassBarge

Here at The Corning Museum of Glass, our mission is to tell the world about an incredible material that captivates and excites us all—namely, glass! In order to fulfill that mission, we don’t wait for the world to come to us—although 460,000 visitors made their way to Corning last year—we take our story out into the world.

The Corning Museum of Glass Road Show in Seattle, Wash.

The Corning Museum of Glass Road Show in Seattle, Wash.

In 2002, we launched the Hot Glass Roadshow, a project that converted a semi-trailer into a fully-functioning glassmaking studio on wheels. We also transformed a standard shipping container into a studio space. This unique equipment and its small footprint make it possible for CMoG to deploy glassmaking to nearly any environment. Our first deployment was the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and, since then, our mobile hot shops have traveled the world stopping in places like Paris, Seattle, South Australia, and New York City. We’ve even circumnavigated the globe aboard Celebrity Cruises, a partnership that began in 2008, and one that enables us to tell the story of glass at sea. Read more →

Corning Museum of Glass Unveils 2016 Rakow Commission by Thaddeus Wolfe

Stacked Grid Structure by Thaddeus Wolfe

Stacked Grid Structure
Thaddeus Wolfe (American, born 1979)
Made in United States, Brooklyn, New York, 2016
Mold-blown glass with brass inclusions
2016.4.9, 31st Rakow Commission

The Corning Museum of Glass unveiled Stacked Grid Structure, this year’s Rakow Commission by Brooklyn-based American artist Thaddeus Wolfe.

Wolfe creates multi-layered, highly-textured, angular mold-blown vessels, sculptures, and lighting fixtures. Stacked Grid Structure, like Wolfe’s other objects, was made by blowing glass into a one-time-use plaster silica mold cast over a carved Styrofoam positive. Creating his molds in this way enables Wolfe to force the material into structures that are at odds with the fluid nature of molten glass.

Stacked Grid Structure is the perfect artifact of its time,” said Susie Silbert, curator of modern and contemporary glass. “A bold and inventively made object, it bridges craft, design, and art in its production, conception, and ambition, exemplifying the blurred boundaries that make contemporary glass such an exciting field today.” Read more →