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Early Nineteenth Century Glass Technology in Austria

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This is the last of three volumes that show how understanding of glass making advanced over the course of two centuries from the early 1600s to around 1840. That the beginning of this period there was almost no reliable chemical knowledge, as is shown by the first of this series, Christopher Merretts Art of Glass published in 1662. The second volume by Paul Bosc DAntic, who wrote between 1758 and 1780, showed considerable advance. However, DAntic stood uncomfortably on the crumbling remains of the classic beliefs: he still believed that phlogiston played a vital chemical role in glass melting and crystallization, so that many of his attempts to understand chemical phenomena are very convoluted. By 1800 most of the foundations of modern chemistry were talked about, even if not yet generally accepted, following the work of pioneers like Lavoisier and Priestley. This volume contains significant papers that appear, unaccountably, to have been ignored ever since their first publication. In 1820, when Professor Scholz wrote the long paper that opens this volume, chemical techniques were improving rapidly and the role of heat in high temperature processes was properly understood. His introduction, which summarizes a remarkably modern view of what everyone ought to know about glasses, is followed by his detailed account of early attempts to use Glaubers salt as the source of alkali in glass making; attempts that were only partially successful because the sulphate does not readily react with silica unless a reducing agent is also used to decompose it. The other seven papers written in the next decade discuss the whole process of glass melting in considerable detail. Their author, Factory Superintendent Kirn, was employed at the Royal Warttemburg Glasshouse, Schnmunzach, to show other glass makers how to improve the standard and profitability of their glass making in that Kingdom. That presumably explains his ability to make numerous trials and to publish detailed accounts of his results. His work includes the only known detailed descriptions of preparing wood from its cutting in the forest to its use in the furnace. These include experiments intended to find the most economic way of dealing with wood and comparisons of how different economic factors, particularly the cost of fuel, affected glass making practices in Bohemia and the neighbouring part of France. Other papers report experiments on furnace design and operation which could be read with profit by anyone interested in the techniques of operating wood-fired glass melting furnaces. Amongst other things, Kirn also described trials to find how much rock salt could be used as a batch material. These papers provide a better guide to the glass technology of that era than any of the better known books of the time.

Volume 1. Art of Glass by Christopher Merrett (1662)
Volume 2. Bosc D'Antic on Glassmaking (1758-1780)
Volume 3. Early Nineteenth Century Glass Technology in Austria and Germany: the works of Professor B. Scholz and Factory Superintendent Kirn (1820-1837)
Volume 4. Apsley Pellatt on Glass Making: Publications by Apsley Pellatt senior & Apsley Pellatt junior (1807−1849)
Volume 5.Bontemps on Glass Making: the Guide du Verrier of Georges Bontemps Translated by Michael Cable
Volume 6. Chemical Technology of Glass, Tranlsated by Michael Cable
Volume 7. Glass Manufacture by Walter Rosenhain Introduced by Professor Michael Cable
Volume 8. A History of the Firm of Chance Brothers & Co., Glass and Alkali Manufacturers. by J. F. Chance Foreword by Michael Cable

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Society of Glass Technology

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