When The Studio opened in 1996, Spiral Arts built two furnaces, one 1,000-pound day tank for continuous melting of clear glass, and one 200-pound pot furnace for melting colored glasses, as an accessory for the glassblowing classes. Frank Woolley, a retired Corning Incorporated scientist, helped standardize some of The Studio’s first color recipes, and we have been melting colored glass ever since.
Our original pot furnace has finally reached the end of its life and has been dismantled, but a new furnace is nearly complete to take its place. Nicknamed “Gemini,” the new pot furnace will contain two 80-pound pots, each containing a different color, and each with its own door. Due to its custom design, the furnace will take only a few more inches of precious space, but will allow access to each pot from the main hot shop.
Unlike previous furnace rebuilds, this furnace was designed and built totally in-house. The Studio’s technical team worked for months before the re-build began, pre-cutting and assembling (without mortar) many of the bricks and components that would make up the furnace. The combustion system from the previous furnace was re-used, but a new low energy blower and heat-recuperator were installed to save electricity and natural gas.
Still in progress, the new color melting furnace is slated to be completed in time for the 2011 winter classes at The Studio.
Submitted by Harry Seaman, facilities manager at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass