How Stretch Glass is Made
A Step-By-Step Description
(Click each image to enlarge)
Taking a gather of molten glass from the pot. A metal rod is rotated in the molten glass until the correct amount of glass is gathered. This gather is taken to the nearby press.
The molten glass is allowed to drip into the mold. As soon as the proper amount of glass has dropped into the mold, it is cut off with a large scissors-like tool. This usually leaves a "cutoff mark" in the final product which many call a "straw mark."
The mold with molten glass is shoved under the press plunger and the plunger is lowered into the mold. This forces the glass into all the parts (foot, handles, etc.) of the mold.
The plunger is raised, the mold top is removed and the mold is opened. Tongs are used to remove the molded piece of glass and place it to a cooling area.
After a brief cooling to firm up the foot, the piece is then taken to a person holding a “snap.” The snap is a metal rod that has a round clamp located on the one end. When the other end of the rod is pushed down on the floor, the clamp jaws open. The foot of the glass piece is placed inside. The piece is now “snapped up.”
The snapped up piece is taken to the “glory hole.” The glory hole is an opening in the furnace into which snapped up piece is placed. This is where it is reheated to the point where it will easily take the “doping” process.
The reheated, snapped up piece is sprayed with a metallic salt(s) that forms the iridescent surface characteristic of carnival and stretch glass. The piece is rotated rapidly to get an even coating on the inside, the outside or both. This process is called doping.
The doped piece is again placed in the glory hole. This is where stretch glass and carnival glass differ. Carnival glass is shaped and then doped, where Stretch glass is doped and then shaped.
The reheated piece is now shaped. This shaping causes the stretch marks to enhance the iridescent surface.
All pressed glass pieces have to be placed in an annealing furnace, called the “lehr.” The lehr keeps the glass at a high temperature and slowly cools it. This releases internal stress which causes cracks if the glass is allowed to cool too quickly.
The finished product!