GLASS BLOWING IN AMERICA
In 1607 a crew of adventurous
Englishmen floated onto the shore of Jamestown, Virginia. Their main
mission was to make things to sell in England. The crew members were
clueless of what they could make. Except for one man, that is.
Captain John Smith, you know him from Pocahontas, was sure that all that
sand along the shores must be good for one thing...glass! When he
mentioned this to England, they sent eight Dutch and Polish glassblowers.
It was then that Americaís first factory was built. The glassblowers
immediately began blowing glass bottles that were shipped to England.
The first thing a gaffer, or master glassblower would do was to build a
flaming hot fire. It had to be hot enough to melt the ingredients
together. Then he sent an assistant to take the different jars of
ingredients off the shelf and mix them together. The concoction was
then poured into a fireproof clay pot called a crucible. Tiny bits
of glass that were the same color were then placed in the mixture.These
bits were clled cullet. They helped to melt the ingredients.
The entire mixture or batch, still in the crucible, was put into the furnace.
It melted into a white hot mass. Now it could be made into a bottle
There were two different ways to make bottles. One way was to blow a bubble of glass through a blowpipe into a mold shaped just like the object. The other way was to blow a bubble and make the shape without a mold. After all that blowing, the liquid was cooled off a little. Now it was very workable. You could bend it, twidt it, squeeze it...it was like squeezing Silly Putty! Since it was still too hot to touch, the gaffer a variety of tools. He used a battledore to flatten the bottom, pucellas to stretch and twist, scissors for cutting...tons of things! Then the gaffer cut off the top, heated it again and viola! You have one glass bottle.
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Created by the North Rose Elementary ThinkQuest Junior Team