Theses Master's

Wire Glass: History of Technology and Development

Kefallinos, Konstandena

This thesis seeks to provide greater meaning and significance to wire glass so that it may be preserved by exploring the historical origins and complexity of manufacture of the medium. The Industrial Revolution was a period of amazing evolution in the history of glass manufacture. Plate glass technology allowed for new design and building construction concepts, including the Crystal Palace, but this was an imperfect technology. As the brilliant minds of the Revolution struggled to grapple with the obstacles posed by plate glass, wire glass was eventually born. This new glass type spread across the United States in subsequent years, fueled by uniform manufacture standards on the city and state levels and the American mass media’s coverage of conflagrations, which led to the public’s association of wire glass with safety given its fire retardant and shatterproof qualities. Wire glass was technically incredibly difficult to produce, especially in mass production, and although inventors experimented with various treatments and patterns, wire glass remained and was comparatively expensive (though people generally believed the safety benefits outweighed the costs). Wire glass fell into disfavor during the World Wars as it was replaced by newer types of glass that were more economical, but recent trends have sparked renewed interest in the use and hence preservation of wire glass. Original methods of wire glass manufacture using early wire netting patterns no longer exist, and so current methods of preservation and conservation involving replication through glass lamination methods using imported wire nettings and salvage are discussed. Possible conservation treatments for repair are debated and further research is concluded.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Jablonski, Mary A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 10, 2013