Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass
Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Rondels and Bullseyes
The Blenko Glass line is most important in the restoration of Anitque Glass Windows. Don Lemley (304 743 9081) is the Director of Antique Glass. Questions about this line - phone Don Lemley.
The BLenko Glass website has the following info about Rondels and Bulleyes.
Glazing of windows with small, round pieces of glass was very common in the Middle Ages in private homes as well as public buildings. In old towns, some of these windows, set in lead channels, may still be found in sensitively restored buildings.
Genuine rondels are produced one by one at Blenko Glass Company, Inc. in the traditional mouth blown method. Every rondel is a unique piece - brilliant and alive, setting it apart from pressed or cast imitations.
Molten glass is taken from the furnace with the blowpipe. The amount of the glass gathered determines the eventual size in the rondel. The molten glass is blown out into a small bubble. The circumference of the bubble is the second important factor determining the final size to be produced. The production of a uniform, high quality rondel depends on the skill and experience of the "rondelmaster". The small, still hot ball of glass will now be attached to a pontil rod and broken from the blowpipe. After reheating it is opened with a pair of shears. Using a special technique the "rondelmaster" then folds the edges, lending strength to the rondel, making it more workable. Spinning the glass, a small, round rondel is formed. After reaching the desired size, the rondel is tapped off the pontil rod and slowly cooled in an annealing oven.
The characteristic navel, caused by breaking the glass off the blowpipe is an unmistakable sign of genuinely mouth blown rondel.
Blenko has been producing hand-spun rondels for over 100 years using a process that dates back to Medieval times. Our rondels range in size from 3" up to 14" and can be custom cut into to "bullseye panes" for restoration purposes.