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The Industries of Scotland
Manufactures in Glass


BY some fortuitous liquefaction was mankind taught to produce a body at once in a high degree solid and transparent, which might admit the light of the sun and exclude the violence of the wind; which might extend the sight of the philosopher to new ranges of existence, and charm him at one time with the unbounded extent of the material creation, and at another with the endless subordination of animal life; and, what is yet of more importance, might supply the decays of nature and succour old age with subsidiary sight. Thus was the first artificer in glass employed, though without his own knowledge or expectation. He was facilitating and prolonging the enjoyment of light, enlarging the means of science, and conferring the highest and most lasting pleasures; he was enabling the student to contemplate nature, and the beauty to behold herself." In these few resounding sentences Dr Johnson sets forth the origin and utility of glass. The date of its discovery is lost in antiquity; but its history, so far as known, is exceedingly interesting. There are indisputable proofs that the art of glass-working was known in Egypt before the exodus of the Children of Israel from that land, more than 3500 years ago; and its spread among the ancient nations has been distinctly traced. In order to treat of glass as an article manufactured in Britain, we must come down to comparatively recent times.

The first mention of glass in English history relates to the glazing of the windows of a church at Wearmouth, in Durham, which was done in the year 674 by workmen brought from abroad. Other ecclesiastical edifices were subsequently furnished with glazed windows; but so late as the sixteenth century glass was a rare thing even in the residences of the nobility. In a record of a survey of ---- Alnwick Castle, made in the year 1567, it is stated that the glass casements were taken down during the absence of the family, so that the heavy expense of damage done to them by wind and otherwise might be saved. In Harrison's "Description of England," written in 1584, the following passage occurs:—"Of old time [meaning, probably, the beginning of the century] our countrie houses, instead of glasse, did use much lattise, and that made either of wicker or fine rifts of oke in checkerwise. I read also that some of the better sort, in and before the time of the Saxons, did make panels of home instead of glasse, and fix them in wooden calmes [casements]; but as home in windows is now quite laid downe in everie place, so our lattises are also growne into disuse, because glasse is come to be so plentiful, and within verie little as good, cheape, if not better than the other." A coarse kind of window glass was made in England in the fifteenth century, and the first flint-glass manufactory was established at Crutched Friars, London, in 1557. Several other works of the kind were subsequently set up in the same locality. In 1615 Sir R. Maunsell obtained a patent for making glass by means of coal, instead of wood fuel. About sixty years later the Duke of Buckingham induced some Venetian glass-makers to settle at Lambeth, where they began to make plate-glass mirrors. As the early British manufacturers produced only an inferior class of goods, considerable quantities of glass were for a long time imported from Venice.

The manufacture of glass in Britain was grievously hampered by Excise duties and regulations, which were originally imposed in 1695, and continued—with the exception of an interval of fifty years, between 1698 and 1745—until 1845. At first the duty was comparatively moderate; but in the hands of successive legislators it swelled to an enormous amount, the effect being first to stop any increase in consumption, and ultimately to reduce by one-half the quantity of glass made. In the three years ending with 1779, when the duty on flint and plate-glass was 9s. 4d. a cwt., it produced, on the average, L.64,188 a-year. In 1822 the duty was 98s, a cwt., which produced only L.289,442, showing that the quantity of glass made was less than half what it was in 1777, and that, too, though the population had nearly doubled in numbers during the interval. These facts, as shown by the official returns, could not fail to convince the most obtuse mind that if the manufacture of glass was to be retained as a branch of national industry, some change was necessary. In 1825 the duty was reduced to the following rates :—Flint- glass, 56s. a cwt.; plate, 60s.; broad, 30s.; crown, 73s. 6d.; bottle, 7s. These rates were continued until 1845, when the duty was repealed. The Excise regulations as to the manufacture of glass were numerous and complex, and were enforced under heavy penalties. A few of these regulations may be mentioned. All glass- makers had to take out a license, which entailed a payment of L.20 annually for each glass-house. No pot could be charged with fresh materials without the owner giving twelve hours' notice in writing to the Excise officials, under a penalty of L.50. If, after notice was given, and the pot had been gauged by the Excise officer, any material or preparation was put into any pot, a penalty of L.200 was incurred. Officers could demand access to the workshops at any time to gauge the materials, and mark the pots as they might think fit. Any attempt to obstruct the officers so employed was visited by a penalty of L.200; and the counterfeiting or altering of any marks so made, by a penalty of L.500. There were other regulations which interfered very much with the details of the manufacture. Since the removal of the restrictions the trade has increased very much, and in recent years work of a more artistic kind has engaged the attention of the manufacturers. Britain occupies the foremost place in the flint-glass branch, and in the production of engraved articles of flint-glass Edinburgh holds a high rank.

The first glass-maker in Scotland was Mr George Hay, who obtained from James VI. a patent conferring on him the privilege of manufacturing glass for a period of thirty-one years. Mr Hay took advantage of a peculiarly formed cave at Wemyss, on the Fife coast, and therein set up his furnace; but the concern did not pay, and was soon abandoned, the glasshouse being allowed to go to ruin. The place it occupied is still known as the " glass cove." The next localities in which the trade was carried on were Prestonpans and Leith. Operations were begun in the latter town in 1682, bottles being the principal articles produced. The following list of prices, issued from the establishment, is interesting:—"The wine glass, at three shillings two boddles; the beer glass, at two shillings and sixpence; the quart bottle, at eighteen shillings; the pynt bottle, at nine shillings; the choppin bottle, at four shillings and sixpence; the muskin bottle, at two shillings and sixpence—all Scots money; and so forth of all sorts, conform to the proportion of the glasses; better stuff and stronger than is imported." The site of this old glasswork is occupied by an extensive bottle factory, which has been in operation for upwards of a century, and was for a long time the largest in the country. Of seven cones, or furnaces, which were kept going for many years, only two are in use at present, the trade being more profitably carried on in the north of England, where fuel is more abundant and cheaper. In 1777 there were 15,883 cwts. of bottles made at Leith, the duty on which amounted to L.2779 odds. There are at present six flint-glass and eight bottle manufactories in Scotland, employing in the aggregate nearly 2000 persons.

The declared real value of the glass of all kinds exported from Great Britain, was in 1835, L.490,493; in 1840, L.417,178; 1845, L.357,421; 1850, L.308,356; 1860, L.653,198; 1865, L.742,639; 1867, L.803,334. The value of the glass exported from Scotland alone was, in 1861, L.62,140; and in 1867, L.106,555.

There are, generally speaking, five varieties of glass, each requiring a peculiar mode of fabrication, and peculiar materials The coarsest and simplest is bottle glass. 2. Next to it, in cheapness of material, may be ranked broad or spread window glass. 3. Crown glass or window glass, formed in large circular plates or discs. This variety is peculiar to Great Britain. 4. Flint-glass, crystal glass, or glass of lead. 5. Plate or fine mirror glass. Only two of these varieties are made in Scotland—namely, flint-glass and bottle glass.

The principal flint-glass manufactory is that of Mr Ford, which is situated in South Back of Canongate, Edinburgh. The manufactory, which is known as the Holyrood Glassworks, occupies an extensive range of buildings, the nucleus of which was erected by the present proprietor's granduncle, about the beginning of the century. There are two furnaces in the works, which together contain twenty-two pots. The furnaces consist of huge cones of brickwork, pierced with a series of openings corresponding to the number of pots in each. In the centre of each cone a great fire is kindled, and the flames and heat from it are drawn through flues, and brought into contact with the pots, which are arranged round the interior of the wall. The pots are made of a particular kind of clay, which is capable of withstanding intense heat without cracking or giving off any matter that would be injurious to the glass. Usually the pots are made on the premises, and the operation is a tedious and laborious one. The pots are the source of the glass-maker's greatest anxiety, for, notwithstanding the utmost care in making and annealing them, some give way after being in use only for a week or two; others endure for three or four months; but few reach the age of a year. It occasion ally happens that a pot splits when full of "metal," as the fused glass is called, and then the accident entails a serious loss. The withdrawing of a broken pot and the insertion of a new one is about the most trying operation that men could be called on to perform. Besides this waste of the pots, the furnace itself undergoes deterioration at a rate which requires it to be entirely reconstructed at the end of ten years, if not sooner.

The constituents of flint-glass—or crystal, as it is more commonly called—and the proportions in which they are used, are as follow:— Carbonate of potash, 1 cwt.; red lead or litharge, 2 cwt.; sand, washed and burned, 3 cwt.; saltpetre, 14 lb. to 28 lb.; oxide of manganese, 1 on to 4 oz. The sand used is obtained from France, and is of remarkably fine quality, the particles when examined under the microscope appearing to be regularly formed and pure crystals. In order to free the sand from impurities, it is washed with water, then dried in an oven, and afterwards passed through a series of fine sieves. The other compounds having been prepared by various processes, both they and the sand are weighed out in their respective proportions, and thoroughly mixed. These operations are conducted in a special department. The most economical and convenient system of working a glass-house is to make "metal" once a-week, and matters are so arranged that the supply becomes exhausted on Friday, which leaves Saturday and Sunday clear for melting a fresh supply, the operations of the glass-workers being in the meantime suspended.

The pots in which bottle glass is made are open, and the flames and smoke come freely into contact with the "metal." In the case of flint-glass that arrangement would not do, as the smoke would spoil the purity of the glass. The flint-glass pots are accordingly made so as to prevent direct contact between the "metal" and the fire. In shape the pots closely resemble the inverted bowl of a tobacco-pipe, with the stem broken off short. The stem part projects through the masonry of the furnace, and contains an opening through which the glass may be withdrawn. The pots are charged every Saturday morning. Each contains about eighteen cwt. of glass, the ingredients for which are put in gradually as the fusion proceeds, from twelve to fifteen hours being required to complete the charging. Though the ingredients become melted in that time, the "metal" is not in a fit state for working owing to the presence of air-bubbles, which can be got rid of only by urging the furnace to its utmost intensity, and maintaining it heat for from thirty to forty hours, the mouths of the pots being sealed during that time.

The glass is ready for working by an early hour on Monday morning. There are two sets of workmen, who relieve each other every six hours, and the work goes on constantly from Monday morning until Friday. The weekly consumption of coal is about twenty tons to each furnace.

Under the intense heat to which it is subjected in order to get rid of gaseous bubbles, the glass becomes nearly as fluid as water, and in that state could not be worked. Before the blowers begin operations, the temperature of the pots is lowered until the "metal" assumes the consistency of treacle. The tools used by the workmen are exceedingly simple, and are similar to those which the earliest British glass-makers used. Owing, to the peculiar nature of the material, the formation of articles in glass depends more upon the skill, expertness, and tact of the manipulator than upon the employment of complicated appliances. The surface of the glass would be spoiled by a free use of metal tools, and almost the only implements employed are composed of charred wood. The operations of the glass blowers are probably the most wonderful in the whole range of the arts, no manipulations of the conjuror being more mysterious to one who witnesses them for the first time. A small quantity of pasty- looking stuff at a white heat is withdrawn from the pot on the end of an iron tube, and in two or three minutes afterwards is passed to the annealing oven in the shape of a decanter, goblet, or wine glass. The operatives work in gangs or "chairs," each "chair" consisting of a chief workman called a "gaffer," together with a servitor, a footmaker, and a boy—four in all. According to the nature of the article being made, the members of each "chair" divide the labour among them, the "gaffer" executing the most difficult parts. One or two examples of manipulation from many that may be seen in the Holyrood Glassworks will suffice to illustrate the art of working in crystal. In making a plain jug, for instance, one of the workmen takes an iron tube, four or five feet in length, and about three-quarters of an inch in external diameter, and dips one end of it into the pot. This is called "gathering," and a chief object of the operative is to take up the exact quantity of metal required for the formation of the article that is to be made—to take more would be to waste, and to take less would be to make the article too thin and light. Having got the proper quantity of glass on the tube, the workman withdraws it, and rolls the pasty mass on an iron table called a "marver." The purpose of this operation is to give the glass a smooth surface. He then blows into the tube, and causes the glass to expand slightly, repeats the "marvering," and so on until the desired dimensions are attained. An inexperienced observer would up to this point have difficulty in guessing what sort of vessel was being made, for the large crystal pear on the end of the blowing tube bears no evidence of its ultimate form. The glass, with the tube still attached, is then handed over to the "gaffer," who is seated on a peculiar kind of chair, fitted with a rail on each side. The rails project forward about a couple of feet, and incline downwards slightly. Laying the blowing-tube across these rails, with the glass projecting on the right-hand side, the "gaffer" completes the jug by a series of dexterous operations. He begins by flattening the outer end of the glass by pressing a piece of wood against it, and thus forms the bottom of the jug. One of his assistants then approaches with a bar of iron called a "punty rod," the tip of which, having been previously dipped into the pot, is applied to the bottom of the jug, and becomes firmly fixed thereto. The vessel is then detached from the blowing-tube by drawing a piece of cold iron across the part at which the separation is desired. The glass contracts suddenly under the touch of the iron, and parts readily. By this time the glass, which now bears some resemblance to a champagne bottle, has cooled considerably, and become hard and brittle; and, in order to restore it to a plastic state, it is held in the opening of the pot for a few seconds. The workman lays the rod across the rail of the chair, and as he rolls it backwards and forwards, inserts a two-pronged iron tool into the neck of the jug, and widens it out to the required degree. This tool is called a "pucellas," and the prongs are united by a spring arch similar to that of a pair of sugar-tongs. With a tool of the same form, but having prongs of charred wood, the workman then brings the body of the jug into shape. He generally copies from a pattern, and measures the work with callipers from time to time; but the eye is his chief guide, and some men of long experience can afford to dispense almost entirely with measurements. After another heating, the mouth of the vessel is cut round with a pair of shears, a projecting portion being left to form the lip, which a simple operation brings into shape. While the " gaffer" is thus employed, one of his assistants is preparing the metal for the handle, the other being engaged in gathering and bringing forward another jug. The handle is formed by gathering a certain quantity of glass on the end of a rod, and allowing it to elongate by its own weight until it becomes reduced to the required dimensions. The end of the piece of glass thus prepared is brought into contact with the jug, to which it becomes permanently attached. A portion sufficient to form the handle is detached from the rod, and the loose end turned down and fixed by simple contact. This operation has to be per-formed very expeditiously, as the slip of glass soon cools. The jug receives a final heating to bring up the surface and consolidate the work, after which it is removed to the annealing oven.

Dessert-dishes, salts, &c., are made by taking up a ball of glass on the blowing tube, and pressing it into an open mould during the process of blowing. The part above the mould is blown out until it becomes very thin, and may be readily knocked off at a line above the rim of the dish. Cruet bottles, and flasks for chemical purposes, are formed by blowing the glass into a close mould. A cheap kind of tumbler is made by pressing the glass into shape by a mould and die. On the bed of the press used in the operation is a block of cast iron, in the centre of which is a cavity corresponding to the outside of the tumbler, and attached to a lever above is an iron plunger or core. An assistant having gathered the proper quantity of glass, drops it into the mould, the pressman severing the connection between the gathering-rod and the glass by cutting it with shears. The plunger is then brought down on the glass, and in a second or two it is raised, and the tumbler is turned out. Contact with the mould dulls the brilliancy of the glass, and as the tumblers are formed they are attached to a panty rod, and "fire polished" by being reheated at the pot-mouth, and smoothed off with a piece of charred wood.

Owing to its peculiar structure, glass, especially if of unequal substance, is liable to fracture by sudden changes of temperature; and if the articles made of it be allowed to cool too quickly on leaving the hands of the workmen, they will either fly to pieces immediately, or become so delicate as to be unfit for use. The process of annealing is intended to reduce or dispel this tendency to fracture, and when properly conducted is completely successful. Annealing is simply an arrangement whereby the articles are slowly cooled. The annealing arch or oven consists of a brickwork tunnel about thirty yards in length, with two or more lines of rails in the bottom of it. At one end of the archway is a coke fire, which raises the temperature in its vicinity to a degree equal to that of the glass when it is brought from the workman at the furnace. The articles are arranged on trays, which slide along the rails in the oven. As a fresh tray is put in, all the others are moved forward into a cooler atmosphere, the one at the extreme end being withdrawn, and so on until in the course of ten or twelve hours each tray traverses the whole length of the oven, and the articles become cooled gradually by passing from the heated to the cold end of the tunnel. The time required for annealing depends upon the size of the articles. The ordinary varieties of table glass may be got through in ten or twelve hours; but heavy vessels which have to withstand much cutting take from thirty to forty hours. Belonging to each "chair" is a boy, whose duty is to take the articles as they are made and place them in the annealing oven. Mr Ford, not having available ground for increasing his annealing accommodation, has constructed a circular oven with a revolving floor, which carries the articles through a gradation of temperature.

When the articles are withdrawn from the annealing ovens they are piled into baskets, and those which are to be cut are taken to the cutting shop, while those which are to remain plain are removed to the warehouse. The cutting shop is a large apartment lighted from the roof. It contains about forty wheels, attended by as many workmen, whose operations are of a very interesting kind. All articles in the finer class of flint-glass goods are more or less cut, and their appearance is much improved thereby. The glass-cutters use wheels of various forms and dimensions according to the nature of the work. The wheels are fixed in a sort of turning-lathe and are driven by steam, and the variety of patterns that may be produced on them is almost unlimited. The workman rarely makes any attempt at drawing the device on the glass before cutting it. He simply divides the circumference of the article into sections by scratching with a file, and guided so far by these marks he trusts to his eye for the rest. The first wheel used is of malleable iron, about twenty inches in diameter and half an inch thick. When this is in operation, the tap of a hopper overhead is opened, and a small stream of sand and water flows on the wheel. The sand grinds down the glass to the required shape, but leaves a rough surface, which is first reduced on a fine stone wheel, and then polished on a wheel of willow wood supplied with putty powder. As all the grinding is done wet, the occupation of the glass-cutter is not injurious to health as it would otherwise undoubtedly be. Among the other operations carried on in the cutting shop are "roughing," or "frosting," and "stoppering." The first is performed by scratching off the natural surface of the glass by means of a wire brush and emery powder, the article operated upon being fixed in a peculiar kind of lathe. "Stoppering" is the name of the operation by which stoppers are fitted to bottles. The stoppers are cast of a size larger than the apertures they are to fill, and are ground down by the application of emery on. a lathe. When the stopper is so far reduced as to enter the bottle a short distance, the bottle is held to the stopper, and as the latter spins round it is supplied with emery, which enables it to eat its way in until it fits properly.

The warehouse embraces several large rooms, which are respectively devoted to the various classes of goods, and a visit to them serves to show the multifarious uses to which glass may be put.

Mr Ford's chief productions are table crystal and lamp globes and funnels, and the stock of these forms an exhibition of no mean interest. Among the engraved goods may be seen some magnificent specimens of work executed by local artists.

Mr Ford employs nearly 200 persons, who are chiefly paid according to results. The glass-makers earn from 20s. to 38s. a-week; cutters, from 20s. to 34s.; engravers, from 20s. to 40s.; and boys, from 4s. to 5s. The term of apprenticeship is seven years, and boys are usually employed in doing the lighter work about the establishment for three years before beginning to serve their term, so that in most cases it is ten years after a boy enters before he becomes a journeyman.

The flint-glass makers have a union, which is understood to be one of the strictest associations of the kind in the United Kingdom. It is called the "National Flint-Glass Makers' Sick and Friendly Society of Great Britain and Ireland," and its headquarters are at present in Birmingham. The entry-money for each member ranges from 10s. to L.7, according to age and occupation.—"foot-makers" being admitted at one-third less than either "gaffers" or "servitors." The contributions are fixed at 1s. 3d. per week for the two latter classes, and 10d. for the former, or lowest paid class; and in return for these payments each "workman" or "servitor," while on the sick-list, receives 12s. per week for thirteen weeks, 10s. per week for a similar period, 8s. for twenty-six weeks, and 5s. for twenty-six weeks more. Members on strike receive 15s. per week for six months, if necessary, and 10s. for other six months; while members intending to emigrate are assisted to the extent of L.8, 10s. if they have been three years on the roll of the society. There is also a superannuation allowance of from 3s. to 8s. per week, the amount of which depends upon the length of time the recipient may have been in the society; or the weekly allowance may be cleared off by a single payment mutually agreed upon, which must not exceed L.50 in any case. The union does not permit the employment of more apprentices than one to five journeymen, except under special circumstances, and employers when in want of workmen are obliged to apply through the district secretary instead of engaging the men themselves. The glass-cutters have a union as well as the glass-makers. The contributions range from Is. to 3s. 6d. per week, according to the number of unemployed members, who receive support at the rate of 10s. per week. No serious difficulty has arisen between the employers and employed in Scotland save one, which occurred about nine years ago, when there was a general "lock-out."

Though by expert manipulation the glass-blower produces an infinite variety of beautiful forms, to some of which the glass•cutter gives additional grace, glass is capable of being treated by other processes which enrich its appearance and add much to its value. A finely modelled goblet or decanter of flint-glass, which has the smoothly rounded surface it received from the glass-blower relieved by a few judiciously placed facets produced on the cutter's wheel, is an object possessing great beauty; but its appearance may be much enhanced either by the application of colour or by engraving. The flint-glass manufacturers of Britain use colours in exceptional cases only. The task they appear to have set to themselves was to produce glass of the highest transparency and brilliancy, and impart to it appropriate forms and surface decorations; and they have been so successful that they have got far ahead of all competitors. On the other hand the continental glass-makers revel in colours. The most valuable qualities of flint-glass are its transparency and brilliancy; and when these are hid by opaque colours, the only characteristic of the substance that remains is the least desirable one of brittleness. There is no evidence that glass-engraving in intaglio, as practised in modern times, was known to the ancients; but it is certain that they were familiar with the more difficult process of cutting designs in relief. Those marvellous gems of art, the Portland and Naples (or Pompeii) vases show to what excellence the early glass- engravers had attained. The vases are similar in material, but differ widely in form and design. A good idea of the appearance of the Portland vase, the original of which is in the British Museum, may be obtained by examining a model of it in the Edinburgh Industrial Museum. The vessel is composed of dark blue glass, bearing a number of figures in white opaque enamel, cut in low relief, after the fashion of a cameo. The Pompeii vase is in a museum at Naples.

In the modern school of glass-engraving Edinburgh stands in the highest class, and it is exceedingly creditable that that position has been gained after only a few years' exertion. At the Art Exhibition held in Edinburgh in 1856 glass-engraving was in its infancy in Scotland, and the specimens then shown were coarse and inartistic.

It was not until the firm of Messrs J. Millar & Co., of Edinburgh, turned attention to the matter that a decided. and hopeful start was made. So rapid was the progress, that Messrs Millar were able to show at the Great Exhibition of 1862 a collection of engraved glass which attracted universal attention, and won the favourable notice of art critics. A happy hit was made by the beautiful fern pattern then first produced, and now copied by engravers everywhere. Following up the success thus achieved, the firm have gone on producing novelty after novelty. At the Paris Exhibition they made a magnificent display, and, notwithstanding the severe test of competition with the famous glass-makers of the Continent, held their own in the department of engraved flint-glass. Some of the decanters and wine glasses shown were exquisitely beautiful, and were eagerly bought by art collectors. In order that engraved glass might become popular, it was necessary that it should be cheap as well as beautiful; and the Edinburgh makers were among the first to meet both requirements, the result being that their productions are finding their way to the tables of the middle as well as of the upper classes of society. The nobility are now having their coats of arms engraved on every article of table crystal; and persons who have no heraldic emblems to display are having their glasses inscribed with mono-grams. Messrs Millar & Co. have just invented a process by which the monograms may be gilded as well as engraved, and by which the coats of arms may be worked in true heraldic colours. The experiments made have been highly successful, and once certain trilling technical difficulties are overcome, an important addition will be made to the modes of decorating glass. Another novelty which the firm are bringing out is the introduction of a small degree of colouring in table crystal. The Bohemian uniformly coloured glass has a heavy appearance, and has not found much favour in this country, the clear brilliant flint-glass being preferred; but it has been thought that a small streak of some brilliant colour applied to the lip and foot of a wine-glass or decanter would enhance its appearance by forming a contrast with the snowy purity of table linen. Of course there will be differences of opinion as to the appropriateness of such an application of colour—here it will suffice to chronicle the fact of its introduction, under the name of Alexandra-Venetian glass. The prevailing fashion in engraved glass is, in the case of decanters—which, by the way, are made very light—delicate Grecian ornamentation round the lip and neck, with a medallion containing a figure-subject of a classical type on one of the sides; and, in the case of wine glasses, wine coolers, and finger glasses, the enrichment consists of wreaths, festoons, and arabesque work, all on a minute scale. The figure engraving generally displays marvellous skill in execution.

The "Times" reporter at the Paris Exhibition thus referred to some of the articles shown by Messrs Millar & Co.:—"There is a small glass jug round which has been engraved, with amazing minuteness, one of the friezes of the Elgin marbles. The procession of men and horses in miniature round this jug has a most charming effect, and many other glass vessels might be mentioned of the same manufacture which are conceived in the happiest vein, and are wonderfully fine of execution. Full as the case of Messrs Millar is of work which in its artistic merit does no small honour to the Scottish metropolis, there are two large decanters in it that deserve notice, not only for the skill with which they are engraved, but also as curiosities which illustrate the drinking customs of the time. Trust a Scotchman near good liquor. Here are wine jugs which have been especially ordered for Scottish noblemen—the one to contain six, and the other nine bottles of claret. The French and the Scotch have an ancient liking for each other. The French patronise largely everything Scotch in the Exhibition, as Scotch shawls and Scotch jewellery; and they come to gaze with admiration on those prodigious decanters of Messrs Millar, which bear startling testimony to the bibulous capacity of the Scotch for the chief wine of France."

The principal glass-engraving establishment in Edinburgh is that of Mr J. H. B. Millar, who works only for Messrs Millar & Co., and for Mr Ford, of the Holyrood Glasswork. The workshop occupies a large brick building at Norton Place, and in it about forty men and boys are employed. Mr Millar was one of the first engravers engaged by Messrs Millar & Co., and by his artistic and manipulative skill has contributed in no small degree to the success they have achieved in this particular department of their business. The glass-engraver requires a sharp eye and a steady hand. He must be careful not to make blunders, because the transparent body on which he operates cannot conceal a flaw, nor does it admit of one being successfully rectified. Another peculiarity of this art is that, while the engraver in wood or in steel may draw his design on the surface to be cut, the glass-engraver has no such means of guiding his hand or eye. The tools used in glass-engraving are exceedingly simple. They consist of a series of copper discs, varying from four inches to one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter, and a small lathe for making these spin round. There are about a hundred discs in a complete set, and in the execution of some designs the whole of these are called into requisition by turns. It is most convenient when several articles of one pattern are carried on simultaneously, as then the engraver is not interrupted by frequent changes of tools. When the discs are in use they are kept supplied with a mixture of emery and oil. The workman rests his arms on his bench, and seizing the article to be engraved with both hands, applies it to the edge of the disc, which is kept revolving by the action of his foot on a treadle. The glass is moved about with great expertness, and the rapidity with which designs of a simple kind are produced is astonishing. Only a trifling percentage of glass is broken in the process of engraving. Mr Millar, who is a native of Bohemia, employs a number of his countrymen, but most of his workmen are natives of Edinburgh who have served an apprenticeship of six years.

The use of coloured glass in windows is of great antiquity. It is said to have been imitated from the Byzantine-Greeks by the Saracenic races, and it is continued in the cities of the East to the present day. Coloured glass was used in the palaces of the Roman Emperors in the mosaic work with which the walls and floors were decorated, and that is supposed to have been the first form in which glass was used pictorially. The earliest direct reference to coloured glass windows in Europe occurs in a description of the Basilica of St Paul at Rome, written in the end of the fourth century. The next allusion to it is made in an account of a church built at Lyons in the fifth century, the windows of which are described as being composed of coloured glass "arranged in patterns." Those early windows were furnished with "stained glass"—that is, glass coloured in the pot, as distinguished from "painted glass," which is produced by the application of colours to the surface. The earliest existing examples of painted windows are believed to be those in the Abbey of Tergernsee in Bavaria, which were presented to the abbey in the year 999. Figure subjects do not appear to have been introduced until the middle of the eleventh century, when "The Mystery of Paschasius" was illustrated in one of the windows of a church at Dijon. The French King Charles le Chauve was the first great patron of glass-painting; and under the impetus it received from the encouragement of royalty, the art became universal, painted glass windows being introduced into all religious edifices of any pretensions. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries glass-painting reached its highest point of perfection, the French being the most successful artists. The mosaic and medallion windows of the thirteenth century are considered to be the best specimens of decorative work ever produced. The oldest English examples of that period are in Canterbury and Salisbury Cathedrals; but the finest are in York Minster and Lincoln Cathedral. In France the chief works of the same age embrace some of extraordinary grandeur and beauty —such as the windows of the cathedrals of Chartres, Bourges, Paris, Amiens, and Rouen, and in the magnificent Sainte Chapelle at Paris. In the fourteenth century, with the advent of the second pointed or decorated style of Gothic architecture, came a fashion of making painted windows more vivid in colour, broader in style, and displaying a more studied gradation of light and shade. Mechanically considered, the work of that period was a great advance on that of earlier date, but the designs were less pure in conception, and the intense colouring had a tendency to reverse the proper order of things; for while the windows ought to have been subordinated to the general architectural effect, they in most cases usurped the superior place. The fourteenth century style of glass-painting, or something based thereon, is perhaps better suited to modern tastes and requirements than that which preceded or that which followed it; and our artists have, in bringing about a revival of the art, chiefly striven to work in the spirit of that style. When the third pointed or perpendicular style of Gothic came into use in the fifteenth century, another change came over the art of glass-painting, but it was a change for the worse. The mosaic pattern-work of stained glass was discarded, and the design was painted on large pieces of white glass. The painting, as such, was executed with much artistic skill, but the colouring looked cold and feeble, because the native brilliancy of the glass was obscured. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, when Gothic architecture was dying out, glass- painting reached its lowest point of degradation. Painters on glass tried to rival painters on canvas, and the windows of palaces and mansions were filled with glass covered by work which, if applied to canvas, would have rendered the artists famous, but which never could be made effective as a transparency. This fashion was followed up till thirty or forty years ago, when Gothic architecture began to be revived. Architects, while studying the details of medival cathedrals and other edifices, could not fail to be impressed with the idea that no copy of the stone and lime would be satisfactory unless the windows were to be filled with painted glass—in short, that the revival would have to be a double one. In England, France, and Germany, men were found ready and willing to devote themselves to study and endeavour to imitate the works of the ancient masters in the art of glass-painting; and now we are fairly in the way to a great revival. Many sad failures were made at the outset; but as the artists are acquiring a knowledge of the capabilities of their materials, the successful works are multiplying. The Germans are striving to eclipse all competitors, and the establishments under royal patronage at Munich and Berlin have produced some grand things; but though the Germans excel in drawing, the British artists show a more thorough appreciation of the ancient mode of working, and if they persevere in the course they are pursuing, will one day stand above all rivals.

Painted glass is now being used extensively in ecclesiastical edifices, and in the houses of the wealthy; and it is probable that it will go on increasing in popularity. Even in Scotland, where, up till a few years ago, a bit of painted wall or coloured glass in a Presbyterian Church would be regarded as an indication of Romish tendencies, painted windows are being freely introduced into places of worship, and yet there is no apparent decay of Presbyterianism among us. Glasgow Cathedral is adorned by some of the finest specimens of glass-painting by modern German artists, and the hearty and liberal manner in which that work was carried out augurs well for the future of the art in Scotland.

Glass-painting was almost extinct in Scotland until about forty years ago. No doubt it had been extensively known and practised during the period in which our fine old abbeys and churches were erected; but it is probable that the artists, like the architects and masons of those structures, were imported from the Continent. Now, however, glass-staining forms a considerable branch of artistic and mechanical industry. Year after year, as already stated, there is a growing desire to have the windows of mansions, public halls, and churches decorated with stained glass. Scarcely is there an entrance- hall in the mansions of the wealthy but has its chief window blazoned with heraldic transparencies; and many public buildings have their windows similarly adorned.

The processes by which these works are produced are multifarious, and the manipulation requires great skill. The coloured glasses used are termed pot-metal, from their being produced by the fusion of metals with crystal in a pot or crucible, and afterwards moulded into sheets. From these the glass-cutter, who handles his diamond with great dexterity, cuts the separate pieces according to the required design, each colour thereof being in a separate piece of glass. The first part of the work consists in preparing a coloured sketch- design, generally on a small scale ,from which afterwards full-sized cartoons are drawn. On these are marked the lines for the lead= work necessary to join the various pieces of glass together. Any outlining or shading, such as upon foliage, heads, or draperies, is produced by fusing an opaque metallic pigment upon the surface of the pot-metal glass. Metallic pigments fused upon the surface of glass produce various colours, but the effect is feeble and dull as compared with the tone and lustre of pot-metal colours. The lead framing, which is used for joining the pieces of glass together, is grooved upon both sides, and the glass is closely fitted and soldered therein. Elaborate work contains about 100 pieces of glass in each square foot; the casing of these in lead and soldering is, therefore, a process requiring great experience and nicety. The glass-stainer makes use of fluoric acid for etching and embossing. Many of the coloured glasses are composed of sheets having about a sixth of their thickness coloured, and the remainder clear. These are called "flashed" colours. The workman covers the flashed side of the glass with a preparation which resists the action of fluoric acid, and draws the design thereon with a tool which removes the resisting medium. He then applies the acid, which attacks the unprotected surface of the glass, and brings out the design clear upon the coloured ground. This process is chiefly employed for ruby and blue borderings with white ornament, as seen in lobby doors and windows. Plate glass is embossed in a similar manner. The acid eats down the figure below the polished surface of the glass, and the surface that remains raised is obscured by grinding with sand or emery. The figure thus remains clear upon an obscure ground.

Mr Ballantine, the head of the firm which, twenty-five years ago, after a competition of skill from all parts of the kingdom, was selected by the Fine Arts Commission to execute the windows in the new House of Lords, has been the chief pioneer in the promotion and improvement of glass-painting in Scotland; and he and his son now carry on an extensive establishment in Edinburgh, and send their productions to all parts of the world. They employ generally from forty to fifty men and boys, almost all of whom they have themselves trained. There are five or six other glass-painting establishments in Edinburgh and Leith, and two in Glasgow, but the art is not practised elsewhere in Scotland.


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