A brief history of glass fusing

Glass fusing is a process where pieces of glass are joined together by melting them in a kiln to a temperature of around 800°C. Pieces of compatible glass are selected, cut and sometimes ground into shape and then placed in a kiln. The glass heats up slowly and then faster and the glass softens, becomes hotter and more fluid and then sticks together. It eventually cools slowly and then will be solid. A second firing with the fused glass piece balanced over or inside a mould is called slumping.

The first fusing and kiln casting (a process which also uses a kiln to melt and shape glass pieces placed inside a mould) was produced by the ancient Mesopotamians in the 2nd millennium B.C. These processes evolved from ceramic and metal working techniques and glass was considered a precious material alongside silver and gold. The Ancient Egyptians also developed the process. By the latter half of the second millennium they became proficient in fusing the other glass techniques. Greeks and Romans continued to improve the technique.

The development of kiln formed techniques were short lived due to the emergence of a new technique, glass blowing. This became popular as it could be repeated easily and was considered more efficient and cheaper. It became the prevalent technique for glass workers and spread throughout the Roman Empire.

By the 2nd and 3rd Century AD the warm glass techniques were almost forgotten. They were re-discovered in Europe. particularly in France in the 19th century . Bullseye Glass Co. was formed in Oregan in America in 1974 and has developed glass fusing techniques further. They were the leaders in research and developed compatible glass especially for fusing.

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