Bristol blue glass

Bristol Blue Glass has been made in Bristol, England since the 17th century.


During the late 1700s Richard Champion, a Bristol merchant and potter, making porcelain, was working with a chemist, William Cookworthy. [cite web |url= |title= Bristol Blue Glass|accessdate=2007-09-01 |format= |work=Business West ] Cookworthy began a search for good quality cobalt oxide to give the blue glaze decoration on the white porcelain and obtained exclusive import rights to all the cobalt oxide from the Royal Saxon Cobalt Works in Saxony. [cite journal |last=Weeden |first= C. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 1990 |month= Dec |title= William Cookworthy and Bristol blue glass |journal= Glass Technology |volume= 31 |issue= |pages= 256–65 |id= |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-01 |quote= ] It is uncertain when Bristol Blue Glass was first made but the quality and beauty of the glass swiftly gained popularity, with over sixty glass houses being set up in the city. [cite web |url= |title=History of Bristol Blue Glass |accessdate=2007-09-01 |format= |work=Bristol Blue Glass USA ]

The rarest and most interesting of Bristol glass is the white, opaque milky glass made from 1762 to about 1787. In tint it resembles porcelain or Battersea enamel. The effect was produced by the use of much lead and a small amount of tin in its composition. The color is a solid white and, when held to the light, is translucent to about the same extent as Oriental porcelain. The surface is fine and smooth and soft to the touch. The glass is heavy, owing to the lead used in its manufacture, and very brittle.

Lazurus and Isaac Jacobs were the most famous makers of Bristol Blue Glass in the 1780s. Their company held a royal warrant and made glass for the aristocrats of Europe. [cite web |url= |title=Heritage |accessdate=2007-09-01 |format= |work=Bristol Blue Glass ] Bristol’s glass makers were invited to demonstrate their skills at the Great Exhibition of 1851, opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. At this period cranberry glass was made for the first time by adding 24 carat gold to lead crystal, giving the glass its ruby red tones.

Production ceased in the early 20th century. It has been revived with two Bristol Blue Glass companies in the Bristol area. Bristol Blue Glass is in Brislington and Bristol Blue Glass Southwest is in Fishponds> Both offer visits and tours. Bristol Blue Glass is also sold in the USA by Bristol Blue Glass USA, who import the glass from the English glass blowers.

Chemical composition

The glass consists of cobalt oxide, which creates a deep yet bright blue, and 24% lead oxide (PbO). [cite journal |last=Banks |first= M |authorlink= |coauthors= N. Elphinstone and E.T. Hall |year= 1963 |month= |title= Bristol Blue Glass|journal= Archaeometry |volume= 6 |issue=1 |pages= 26–30 |id= 10.1111/j.1475-4754.1963.tb00575.x |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-01 |quote=|doi= 10.1111/j.1475-4754.1963.tb00575.x ]


See also

* Cobalt glass
* Glassblowing

External links

* [ Bristol Blue Glass]
* [ Video of glass blowing at Bristol Blue Glass]

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