Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. > Far East (excluding China)

Research into Japanese pressed glass industry, c.1870-1900

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David E:
Adam: Thanks for the input - very interesting as always. When in Cambridge, we did discuss the possible reasons for the failure of the Shinagawa plant to make sheet glass (cylinder method, by the way), but really went round in circles! Perhaps it was simply uneconomical. But after about 1881, it is believed the Shinagawa works turned to art glass. James Speed, held in much regard by the Japanese, was still in attendance and was training the apprentices. There even exists a photo of him at this time.

Frank: At the time of all this happening in Japan, I believe all parts of Great Britain was commonly referred to as 'England'... (thanks Anne for the update) ;)

But the 'carving' of this flashed intaglio dish is truly remarkable - I do hope the photo can be posted here.

Edit: The method of spinning glass (bullseye) is called crown glass, so this was not the method that they could not reproduce. There is a photo on Glass Gallery somewhere that I posted, showing the disc being spun.

Lustrousstone:
It is possible that there simply might not have been a big enough market for sheet glass - Japanese houses were built of paper, wood and bamboo and the logistics of transporting glass might have been too difficult.

David E:
No, it was a technical reason as there definitely was a market for sheet glass. Akiko informed me that Japan, at this time, was adopting a western-style outlook and traditional Japanese buildings were being cast aside, sadly :( I think it was a government policy to adopt western styles and values.

We have already mused on whether it was the ability to blow the cylinders of glass, the splitting or flattening, the furnaces, annealing, the availibility of minerals, the ability of the technologists, everything.

Edit: Perhaps the question of sheet glass should be treated as a separate topic? Rather diverse to art glass, so might not get the responses.

Frank:
It could have been a financial reason too, it was a highly competitive industry and several big players on the world market then. There could well have been attempts to impose levies on imports to try and make the local industry competitive. But if they were importing skills I would have thought technology was less of an issue. It was common everywhere for flat glass works to stop/start production as the market ebbed and flowed.

krsilber:

--- Quote from: krsilber on December 10, 2008, 07:39:07 PM ---Maybe it just wasn't economical; perhaps importing it was cheaper.  I wonder what kind of (edit: and how much) sand there is in Japan, it being a volcanic area.

--- End quote ---


--- Quote ---We have already mused on whether it was ...the availibility of minerals...
--- End quote ---

So, what was the availability of minerals, particularly silica?  Not an issue?

A split subject might be a good idea.

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