Practical alchemy archives - Blowing beakers

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Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 09:40:44 -0500 (EST)
From: Peggy Brown

Is anyone interested in blowing glass beakers and such
inspired by pictures of those found in alchemical manuscripts?

This is something I would like to learn how to do, though it
seems a formidable task, particularly since you need access to
a big furnace and tools and someone to first teach the glass-blowing
craft.

Has anyone else done this or have any advice on how to start?

Thanks,

Peggy


Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 19:31:00 -0500
From: RawnClark


Dear Peggy,

perhaps this old post will be of interest/help:

**********************************************
Subj: 1249 Alchemical lab ware
Date: 96-06-30

Greetings all.... my name is Dylan and I'm both an alchemist
and a glassblower (I'm trained in scientific apparatus.) I can
create and modify existing labware (as long as it fits in my
current oven: 17in wide 14.5in deep and 12in tall). I cannot
(yet, though soon) make large flasks as that requires a furnace
and blowpipe... any inquiries may be sent to:

Dylan Roelofs
droelofs@jersey.uoregon.edu
**********************************************************************
Best to you,
:) Rawn Clark



From: Pavel Korensky
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 11:40:37 +0100 (GMT+0100)


> From: Peggy Brown

> Is anyone interested in blowing glass beakers and such
> inspired by pictures of those found in alchemical manuscripts?
> This is something I would like to learn how to do, though it
> seems a formidable task, particularly since you need access to
> a big furnace and tools and someone to first teach the glass-blowing
> craft.
> Has anyone else done this or have any advice on how to start?

We have the glass blowing school here in Czech Republic. The length of the
school is five years and this is only a basic education.
I saw the information material about this school once and there was written that
this is the only school in Europe. I don't know if this is true.
The glass blowing school is in the city "Jablonec nad Nisou" in the northern
region of Czech Republic. The school is small, only several students per year.
I will try to find the mail address of this school for you. I don't think that
you will want to study here, but maybe you can try to contact them and ask them
about some literature.

Best regards


PavelK


Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 09:32:09 -0500
From: Gilbert Arnold

I have been using such equipment for some time, made both from Pyrex
and High Temp. clay. E-mail me privately and I will give you my
glassblower's coordinates.

Blessings,

Gilbert


Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 15:24:50 +0100
From: Joel Tetard

Peggy Brown wrote:
>
> Is anyone interested in blowing glass beakers and such
> inspired by pictures of those found in alchemical manuscripts?
> Has anyone else done this or have any advice on how to start?


You'll find some very interesting information on this art in a Danish
book written by Finn Lynggard : "Glas Handbogen", available from J. Fr.
Clausens Forlaf, Aschebourg. Copenhague 1975.

A French translation exists too, available from Dessain et Tolra
publishers, 10 rue Cassette, 75010 Paris, 1980. ISBN : 2-249-27083-X.

It's a good introduction to the main technics of glass working :
You'll find large chapters on blowing but mainly from an "artistic"
point of view (i.e. how to make cups and so on). Glass blowing of lab
equipment (i.e."pipe working" with a little gas burner) is not
developed in this book.

I have some French books concerning lab equipment but I can't give you
at this moment. I gave them to one of my friends and I think he'll give
me them back in the coming weeks (I hope !...). I'll send you a more
complete list as soon as possible.

There is a specialised school in Paris but only for youngsters.

Some dealers are active in France. One of them is :
RICHOUX S.A.
Rue des Carrieres
BP10
F 94310 Orly
Fax : (+33) 01 45 60 58 87

Richoux deals a large range of products, pipe blowings, tools, burners
and so on.

A specialised on-line database concerning all "glass" subjects is
"Glassfile", available from ESA, Questel-Orbit or Knight-Rider (I don't
remember which provider exactly, sorry !).

I said to Adam that I'll send to the Web site some technical drawings of old lab
vessels found in Paris and made during the Middle-Age area. I'll do
scans as soon as possible but I am rather busy at this moment ... Note
making such glass equipment seems to be not easy !

"Le philosophe, c'est celui qui sait faire le verre" répondit la
Sibylle, interrogée sur ce point... Atorène

"Bon courage" Peggy

Regards to all

Joel


Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 16:20:34 -0500
From: Raymond P. Cullen

> From: Peggy Brown

> Is anyone interested in blowing glass beakers and such
> inspired by pictures of those found in alchemical manuscripts?


There are at least three major types of glassblowing practiced
currently:

1) Trinket making - you see this in the mall during the Christmas rush.
glass rod is turned into "art objects". This practice is not suitable
for "beaker making."

2) Blown glass - this is the practice of making "art objects" from
molten globs of lime (low temperature) glass. You need a furnace that has
a cavity as large as the object for annealing, and another furnace for
melting the glass and for intermediate heating of the object. You can
make beakers or retorts using this method. I would guess a couple of
years of apprenticing would be required plus a substantial investment
for equipment.

3) Scientific - this method eliminates the use of the initial furnace
and starts with preformed borosilicate or quartz shapes (rod, tubing,
flasks, beakers) and adds features using a small oxy-gas torch. For
instance, a retort could be made by selective heating of a long-necked
flask. Annealing of borosilicate glass, although required, is not as
stringent as for lime glass. Big items are made in expensive lathes. I
agree with Mr. Korensky that an apprenticeship for five years or more is
needed to be useful in a glass shop. I have known two scientific
glassblowers for 30 years and have watched their continuous improvement
over this time.

So, unless you want to spend a number of years learning the art, I would
suggest that you buy rather than make.
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