Who Discovered Glass Blowing?
Ever wondered who discovered glass blowing? The modern art of glass blowing may use modern equipment, but the essence of working with glass remains an ancient art. Throughout history the basic knowledge and techniques of glass blowing have been highly coveted. At times they have been held sacred by only a select few.
Glass blowing origins link back to the Roman Empire. Around 300 BC the blowpipe was invented. From this point on the Roman Empire created new techniques for making glass vessels. Molds were used as well as glass blowing techniques. That way the Romans were able to make shapes and patterns on glass. Moreover new formulas for color were invented. Additionally the Romans added gold and silver inlays to decorate vessels.
Glass Blowing in Venice & Murano
Venice became the centre of glass making during the middle ages. The government wanted to control the knowledge and trade of glass, though. For this reason it forced all Venetian glassblowers to move to the island of Murano in 1291.
While in exile the Murano glassblowers developed an incredibly clear glass called ‘Cristalo’. Moreover they created new vivid colours such as deep blue, amethyst and emerald.
Many Venetian glassblowers managed to escape Murano. They spread their new techniques and colours throughout Europe and parts of Asia.
In the Renaissance period glassblowing techniques spread and developed throughout Europe. The first widely available textbook on glass blowing, was Arte Vetraria (The Art of Glass). It published in Italy in the 17th century. Window glass, glass bottles and glass drinking vessels became more common. They were readily accessible for the average person.
In the late 1800s mechanical presses were invented. That made the functional glass production faster and easier on a global scale. By the end of the 19th century glass bottles, jars, glasses, butter dishes and flower vases could be found in most homes.
Studio Glass Movement
In the 1960s the studio glass movement started in America. Individual artists opened their own glass blowing studios. They ran them independently of the large glass factories to pursue their own artistic visions. That way they were able to develop new techniques for glass blowing, casting and carving. This movement spread. It still continues across the globe today.