Last Updated: Feb 06, 2017     Views: 21

Our library focuses on the art and history of glass and glassmaking and does not delve much into the technical aspects or science of glass. That said, here are a few things that may be of interest on this topic. This patent (link below) from 1930 dealing with Uranium does talk about it's use in radio tubes. Although it is in the U.S. it is possible that since he filed for the patent in 1925 that similar things were happening in other parts of the world at that time. In the patent he explains in line 15 that the material was used "as an electron emitting body". He goes on further to talk about heating properties starting in line 35.

We suggest contacting one of the libraries listed below or performing a Google search for Uranium "radio tubes".

For technical questions,contact one of the following organizations:

The Scholes Library at Alfred University, New York State College of Ceramics. They have a substantial collection of technical information about glass. Their reference desk number is: (607) 871-2951. Alfred’s library catalog is available for searching on the web:

The Glass Division of the American Ceramic Society (Columbus, Ohio) Website:

The American Ceramic Society, P.O. Box 6136, Westerville, Ohio 43086-6136 ; Phone: (614) 890-4700 ; email:

The Society of Glass Technology in Sheffield, UK: Website:; Don Valley House, Savile Street East, Sheffield S4 7UQ, UK ; e-mail:

The 1940's saw the end Uranium being used in art glass. Discoveries had been made by this time about the negative health implications linked to radioactive materials. There are simple tests that can be done to see if a piece of glass contains uranium. According to Strahan in the article "Uranium in glass, glazes and enamels", "Objects containing uranium can be identified under ultraviolet light, by Geiger counter, or by placing the object in contact with high-speed photographic film."

Some sources mention a connection to the filament, not to the glass in the radio tubes. In "Uranium Glass" Tomabechi states "If a small tube of uranium oxide is connected electrically in series with such a tungsten filament, it tends to suppress a surge current of the lamp when it is turned on, thereby prolonging the life of the filament.