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Exterior and Interior View of Jones, Smart and Company’s Glass Manufacturers, Aston Hill, Birmingham

One of several glass houses in Birmingham. The exterior view of Jones’ and Smart’s Glass House is dominated by the glasshouse cone, a huge brick structure, from which smoke emerges. The cone served as a giant chimney, creating an updraught for the furnace. The interior view of the cone shows the furnace and glassmakers at work. Glass was melted inside clay pots and the glassblowers inserted their irons into the furnace to withdraw the molten glass. A boy on the left, called a teaser, feeds coals into the furnace. Next to him the servitor is blowing glass to create the bowl of a wineglass. On the right, the footmaker roughly forms a lump of molten glass on his iron. Close to the furnace, the senior workman, the gaffer, is seated at the glassmaker’s chair. He shapes small lumps of glass brought to him by the footmaker to create the stem and foot of the wineglass. The gaffer also connected the stem and bowl. The glass had to be kept at a high temperature to enable it to be soft and workable and would therefore have to be reheated. When finished it was taken to an annealing chamber. This was a long tunnel where heat was maintained at different temperatures through which glass was drawn so that it could be cooled very slowly. The glass could then be engraved and cut.



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