Anne Madarasz Glass: Shattering Notions

ISBN 13: 9780936340012

Glass: Shattering Notions

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9780936340012: Glass: Shattering Notions
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Before Pittsburgh was the Steel City, it was the Glass City. By 1902, the region had more than 100 glass factories. By 1920, the larger Ohio Valley was producing 80 percent of the national output.

This richly illustrated volume offers new insights into the beauty, science, utility, and technology of Western Pennsylvania's 200-year-old glass industry. The story of glass on a local and national scale is told through numerous personal and business histories. Also featured are 33 short profiles of selected glass firms. Includes an introduction by Philip Scranton, Kranzberg Professor of History at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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About the Author:

Anne Madarasz is chief curator at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. She curated an accompanying exhibit at the Pittsburgh Regional History Center.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

While the story of glass in America began at Jamestown in 1608, almost 200 years passed before skilled glassworkers crossed the Allegheny Mountains to begin production in Western Pennsylvania. Since 1797, when the region's first two glasshouses were founded, the conical furnace stacks of glass factories have been a defining feature of the region's skyline. Scores of glasshouses followed, producing rivers of glass for an abundant variety of uses sold throughout the nation and in time, around the world. By the Civil War, Western Pennsylvania was the center of the nation's glass industry.

A generation later, Pittsburgh glass was everywhere: as tile for the walls of New York's great transportation tunnels; in searchlights on the Panama Canal. As insulators for endless miles of telephone and telegraph wire; in "Liberty lens" headlights of Ford automobiles; yet, in addition to the countless industrial applications for Pittsburgh's products, glassmakers in the city were also commissioned to make fine tableware for five presidents. From the magnificent to the mundane, from intricately engraved tumblers designed as singular presentation pieces, to bottles by the boxcar, Pittsburgh made it. The city's gas and electric street signals brought order to an industrializing nation's frenzy. Its plate glass provide windows for many countries and helped make possible the department store and the shop fronts of our consumer economy. Store fronts of Carrara glass, basement windows of glass block, plate glass windows for the great palaces of consumption-the uses for glass were endless.

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Madarasz, Anne
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