Last Updated: Mar 07, 2023     Views: 551

Image: Maurice Marinot, "Outil de verrier, 1920." Rakow Research Library 133063. Can you match the tool depicted in this sketch with its definition?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Different techniques require different tools. Below we'll focus on tools commonly used in working at the furnace, as opposed to tools commonly used in coldworking, flameworking, or making stained glass, for instance.

If you would like information about any of these topics, contact the Rakow Research Library and one of our librarians will be happy to assist you!

Selected Glassmaking Tools with Glass Dictionary Definitions

  • Battledore: A glassworker’s tool in the form of a square wooden paddle with a handle. Battledores are used to smooth the bottoms of vessels and other objects.
  • Block: A tool made from a block of wood hollowed out to form a hemispherical recess. After it has been dipped in water to reduce charring and to create a “cushion” of steam, the block is used to form the gather into a sphere before it is inflated.
  • Blowpipe: An iron or steel tube, usually four to five feet long, for blowing glass. Blowpipes have a mouthpiece at one end and are usually fitted at the other end with a metal ring that helps to retain the gather.
  • Clamp: A tool sometimes used instead of a pontil to hold the closed end (usually the bottom) of a partly formed glass vessel while the open end (usually the mouth) is being shaped.
  • Clapper: A tool consisting of two rectangular pieces of wood joined at one end by a leather hinge. There is an aperture in one of the pieces of wood, and this holds the stem of a goblet or wineglass while it is being made. The clapper is used to squeeze a blob of glass in order to form the foot.
  • Crimper: A tool used for decorating objects by giving them a crimped or wavy edge.
  • Gathering Iron: A long, thin rod used to gather molten glass.
  • Hand Press: A tool shaped like a pair of pliers, with flat jaws containing molds. Hand presses were used extensively in Europe for making chandelier parts. Later, they were introduced in the United States for pressing stoppers and bases.
  • Jacks: A tool with two metal arms joined at one end by a spring. The distance between the arms is controlled by the glassworker, who uses jacks for a variety of purposes while shaping the parison (for example, to form the mouths of open vessels). This tool is also known as a borsella or pucellas.
  • Lipper: A glassworker’s tool made of wood in the shape of a cone and with a handle. It is used to form the lip at the mouth of a vessel.
  • Pallet: A glassworker’s tool consisting of a square piece of wood or metal and a handle. It is used to flatten the bases of vessels.
  • Pincers: A glassworker’s tool used for decorating objects by pinching the glass while it is hot.
  • Pontil (or Punty): The pontil, or punty, is a solid metal rod that is usually tipped with a wad of hot glass, then applied to the base of a vessel to hold it during manufacture. It often leaves an irregular or ring-shaped scar on the base when removed. This is called the “pontil mark.”
  • Shears: A tool used to trim excess hot glass from an object in the course of production. Many modern shears are embedded with chips of industrial diamonds.
  • Soffietta: (Italian) A tool used as a puffer to further inflate a vessel after it has been removed from the blowpipe and is attached to the pontil. It consists of a curved metal tube attached to a conical nozzle. The glassblower reheats the vessel, inserts the nozzle into its mouth so that the aperture is blocked, and then inflates the vessel by blowing through the tube.

Online Resources from The Corning Museum of Glass

Image: Glassmaking tools. From Antonio Neri's De arte vitraria, libri septem (Amstelodami: Apud Andream Frisium, 1668). Rakow Research Library 78965.

Further Reading

Borrowing Library Materials

If you wish to borrow copies of library items, please contact your local library. The Rakow Research Library will lend designated books from its collection and will send copies of articles requested by other libraries. Your library can request items through the OCLC WorldShare Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system or by direct request through email at ill@cmog.org. For more information, please see our ILL policies and procedures.

Take Classes at The Studio

The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass offers classes all year round, some of which might be of interest to you.


More extensive lists of resources on glassmaking tools are available upon request. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance via Ask a Glass Question, email (rakow@cmog.org), phone (607-438-5300), or text (607-821-4029).

 

Please don't hesitate to ask us your glass-related questions in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

Media

Ask a Glass Question

Ask a Glass Question

Please note: The Corning Museum of Glass is a non-profit, educational institute and, as such, cannot answer questions about rarity or value of your glass. For more information about appraisal services, see our curatorial FAQs.

Provide Your Contact Information
Fields marked with * are required.