Glass Production

E. Marianne Stern

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Glass Production

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology


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Glassmaking and glassworking coexisted as two separate crafts throughout antiquity. The division into primary workshops for making the glass and secondary workshops for working and shaping it affected not only the structure of the glass industry, but also early theories about the nature of glass. Glass is the earliest man-made, artificial material. In antiquity, the process of making glass from basic ingredients involved two or more stages, each requiring a different furnace. A salient difference between ancient and modern glassworking is the limited use of molten glass in antiquity. Colored and colorless glasses are described. It is suggested that several important discoveries regarding the properties of glass and the development of new glassworking techniques originated in Greece. Techniques for glass pottery include mold-pressing, double mold-pressing, rotary pressing, winding, sagging, tooling, and free shaping. Furthermore, a discussion on glassblowing tools and equipment, and mold-blowing is presented.

Keywords: glassmaking; glassworking; colored glass; colorless glass; Greece; glass pottery; pressing; glassblowing; winding; sagging

Article.  11501 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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