What is Bubble Glass?

Sonal Panse
Sonal Panse
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Woman with hand on her hip

Bubble glass is glass that has bubbles in it, either unintentionally due to production or material flaws, or intentionally as part of the glass design. Intentional bubble glass is often made from recycled glass and raw materials, and so counts as environmental-friendly. The glass is processed at high temperatures and the bubbles are formed when pockets of gas get trapped in the molten glass. Bubbles are also deliberately created by addition of certain chemicals to the molten glass, or by inserting spikes in the molten glass.

By introducing bubbles of various shapes and sizes along with colors of different hues into the molten glass, designers can create stunning designs with eye-catching light effects. From futuristic inflections to cool water-drop-like effects, bubble glass comes in a variety of visual styles and can be used to enhance any setting. It is for this reason that this glass has proved popular with home-owners and glass collectors ever since it was first created.

The Czech glass artist Emanuel Beranek was one of the first to turn what was a glass flaw into intriguing glass artistry. Established in 1940 by Beranek and his three brothers, the Beranek Glassworks Factory in Škrdlovice, located between Bohemia and Moravia, had to grapple with wartime shortcomings - primitive glass production facilities and a lack of high quality raw materials. They used peat to fuel the furnaces and fragments of bottle glass and charcoal to manufacture glass. The limited and inferior resources inevitably produced bubbles in the glass and, since he couldn't be wholly rid of them, Beranek experimented with glass-blowing a large mass of bubbles and incorporating them into the design. The results looked good and appealed to buyers and so the concept of bubble glass was born.

It was truly a case of making the best out of necessity. Other glass makers then followed suit, started producing different kinds of bubble glass of their own, and the industry grew. More experimentation by individual glass artists followed with the arrival of the glass studio movement in the 1960s and new creative endeavors continue to stretch the artistic boundaries of bubble glass.

Apart from regular, everyday glass items like plates, bowls, glasses, tumblers, jugs, jars and bottles, bubble glass is used to make decorative and artistic items like vases, perfume bottles, paper weights, figurines, lamp shades, chandeliers and installation art. It has also found a niche in the construction industry where it is used for panels, doors, glass walls and molded blocks.

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Discussion Comments


is there a difference in price between clear and bubble glass? coloured or transparent? love a shop in church street that's got interesting glass domes and vases, paper weights.

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