Up in Flames: Turn of the Century Glass Factory Fires and Firefighting Reform

At 8 o’clock in the evening on Monday, December 30, 1907, the Uniontown Flint Glass Factory in Uniontown, Pennsylvania went up in flames. The Morning Herald, the city’s only daily paper, described throngs of people flocking to watch the glassworks burn to the ground as firefighters struggled to keep the fire contained to the confines of the factory. The factory was empty except for the night guard and a single worker who lost his life. However, the company sustained the total loss of its uninsured property.

People line up along the railroad tracks to watch the destruction of the Uniontown Flint Glass Factory on the evening of December 30, 1907. Image Credit: The Morning Herald, Tuesday, December 31, 1907.
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Happy 80th Birthday, Chihuly!

Dale Chihuly is a pioneer and an icon. As one of the foremost names in contemporary glass, Chihuly is known the world over; from the shores of Tacoma, WA, where he was born, to the gardens of Europe and the galleries and museums of America, Jerusalem, Australia, Japan, and more—so many, many more! Over six decades, his prominence in the glass field remains unmatched.

But did you know that today is Chihuly’s birthday? His 80th birthday! From everyone at The Corning Museum of Glass, we wish Dale many happy returns.

Dale Chihuly at Pilchuck Glass School in the early 1970s.

As a celebrated artist, painter, teacher, and leader he is revered by his peers, admired by the glassmakers that follow in his wake, and adored by fans around the world. Chihuly has worked tirelessly to bring glass art into the mainstream, and his name has become synonymous with bright bold colors and large-scale installations.

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Engraving Your Heart on Your Sleeve: Glass Engraving Techniques and Self Expression in 1700s Britain

The special exhibition In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain During the 1700s opens with the story of lead glass. The first display case that visitors encounter holds two goblets, both made in England about a century apart. Our Curator of Early European Glass, Dr. Christopher “Kit” Maxwell, invites you to notice the differences between the two goblets, and learn how the introduction of lead glass put Britain at the top of the glass game in the 1700s. 

The “Lead Glass” display case in In Sparkling Company.

By the end of the 1600s, the British had perfected a recipe for lead glass. High levels of lead oxide included in the glass batch (upwards of 30%) gave the finished objects desirable properties that surpassed any glass that had come before it. The goblet on the left is made of an alkali lime glass and the one on the right is lead glass.

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The Maestro Takes a Bow: Lino Tagliapietra Announces Retirement

Not many people can say they began working at the age of 11. Fewer still that they continued until they were 87! Lino Tagliapietra may be the only person who can say they did both and devoted every day in-between to the pursuit of what he loves most. For Lino, that was glassblowing.

Lino Tagliapietra

Without a doubt, Lino has become a true master of his profession, becoming the world’s most renowned glassmaker over the course of his 76-year career. With hundreds of collaborations under his belt, thousands of artworks to his name, and countless hours logged before the furnace, Lino now announces his retirement.

“Today, because of my love and respect for glass, which has given me so much and that I hope I have reciprocated, I feel I must take what I think will be the hardest and most important decision of my life,” Lino announced in a statement earlier this month. “I have decided to retire from manual work and from the furnace that during this long and wonderful time has gifted me with immense satisfaction, freedom of expression, incredible encounters, and ultimately pure passion for the craft.”

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A Bull in a China Shop: Red Bull Spends a Night at the Museum

Aaron Colton is ready to ride his motorcycle through The Corning Museum of Glass. *

As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.

Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.

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2022: The International Year of Glass!

A Bordeaux Wine Glass by Riedel (83.3.222), featured in the 2021 exhibition Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?

For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.

But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.

Read more →

No Sign of Slowing Down: The Corning Museum of Glass Turns 70!

For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.

In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.

The Corning Museum of Glass in 1951.

To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.

So, let’s go back to where it all began.

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The Life-Saving Work of Glass: Corning’s Valor Glass Houses COVID-19 Vaccine

The lightbulb. Pyrex®. Optical fiber. The catalytic converter. Gorilla® Glass. Valor® Glass. You’ve likely heard of most of these revolutionary innovations in glass, all of which came out of Corning, NY. And although the last one may be unfamiliar to you now, it’s about to serve a very significant purpose: housing and transporting the life-saving vaccine for COVID-19.  

Valor Glass Lab. Photo courtesy of Corning Incorporated.

Corning Incorporated has been on the cutting edge of glass innovation for nearly 170 years, providing solutions to problems and shaping the way we live our daily lives. It’s a company many across the world have never heard of, however, nearly everyone has interacted with technology developed here in this small town of 11,000 people.  

Although you likely don’t realize it, Corning’s technologies have played a role in how we’ve adapted to the COVID-era from the beginning. Never before has there been such an intense need to remain connected while we’re apart. And how have we done that? By interacting with each other through glass displays and transmitting all communications with co-workers, loved ones, and others, via optical fiber. We are literally connected by glass, and so it’s somehow unsurprising—yet immensely remarkable—that Corning’s technology is also on the frontlines of the fight against the virus itself.  

Read more →

A Bull in a China Shop: Red Bull Spends a Night at the Museum

Aaron Colton is ready to ride his motorcycle through The Corning Museum of Glass. *

As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.

Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.

Read more →

2022: The International Year of Glass!

A Bordeaux Wine Glass by Riedel (83.3.222), featured in the 2021 exhibition Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?

For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.

But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.

Read more →

No Sign of Slowing Down: The Corning Museum of Glass Turns 70!

For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.

In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.

The Corning Museum of Glass in 1951.

To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.

So, let’s go back to where it all began.

Read more →

The Life-Saving Work of Glass: Corning’s Valor Glass Houses COVID-19 Vaccine

The lightbulb. Pyrex®. Optical fiber. The catalytic converter. Gorilla® Glass. Valor® Glass. You’ve likely heard of most of these revolutionary innovations in glass, all of which came out of Corning, NY. And although the last one may be unfamiliar to you now, it’s about to serve a very significant purpose: housing and transporting the life-saving vaccine for COVID-19.  

Valor Glass Lab. Photo courtesy of Corning Incorporated.

Corning Incorporated has been on the cutting edge of glass innovation for nearly 170 years, providing solutions to problems and shaping the way we live our daily lives. It’s a company many across the world have never heard of, however, nearly everyone has interacted with technology developed here in this small town of 11,000 people.  

Although you likely don’t realize it, Corning’s technologies have played a role in how we’ve adapted to the COVID-era from the beginning. Never before has there been such an intense need to remain connected while we’re apart. And how have we done that? By interacting with each other through glass displays and transmitting all communications with co-workers, loved ones, and others, via optical fiber. We are literally connected by glass, and so it’s somehow unsurprising—yet immensely remarkable—that Corning’s technology is also on the frontlines of the fight against the virus itself.  

Read more →