learn about glass

Glass is a seductive medium for making art, and there’s a lot to learn about it—where it came from, how it’s shaped, its chemistry and much more. This set of articles written by Ed Schmid will give you an introduction.

Questions to Ask

Getting ready to come to the Museum? Here are some questions you might want to ask before and during your visit.

Science & Glass

Learn about the ingredients that make up glass and how color is added to glass. The recipe for a batch of glass is surprisingly similar to the recipe for chocolate chip cookies.


Learn about the process of blowing glass, the roles of individuals on a team and the hazards of working in a hot shop.

Glass & the Arts

Glassmaking is a global activity. Learn how the art and techniques of manufacture have been heavily influenced by the people and cultures that have embraced it.

Understanding Sculpture

When looking at art, do you find yourself saying, “I don’t get it…?” This article will introduce you to some terms, techniques and concepts of contemporary sculpture using glass as the medium and help you understand a little more about why artists do what they do.


Learn glassblowerspeak—the jargon and technical terms specific to the glassmaking process.

Exploding Glass: The Rupert’s Drop

What’s so strong it will not break under a hammer, yet so fragile, a scratch will cause it to explode? A Rupert’s Drop.

Dropping a small bit of hot molten glass into cold water creates a teardrop shape with a long, thin tail called a Rupert’s Drop. When the hot glass hits the cold water, the outside part of the glass cools much more rapidly than the inner part. The results are a tremendous amount of surface tension and internal stress in the glass. Because of the surface tension, the round end can withstand blows by a hammer, and because of the internal stress, breaking the thin, fragile tail causes the entire drop to explode into a fine powder.

Watch the video »

Prince Rupert of the Rhine is credited for discovering this glass oddity in the mid 1600s although it’s likely others discovered it first. The legend is that his cousin, Charles II of England would explode these drops in the hands of unsuspecting courtiers as a practical joke.



Ed Schmid is the voice of almost all of the content in our Learn about Glass section. He has been working with hot glass (more or less) since 1984. He earned his MFA from the Ohio State University in 1990.

Ed has authored three books about glassblowing:  Ed’s Big Handbook of Glassblowing, Advanced Glassblowing Techniques and The Glassworker's Bathroom Guide. You can learn more about Ed by visiting his website, glassmtn.com.

Purchase Advanced Glasslowing Techiques at the MOG Store.




Museum of Glass

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