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Welcome to Pioneering Glass

This web site is about the drinking glasses that were made in England or for English people during the sixty years from 1640 to 1702. However the subject is much wider than just England. The glasses discussed here both influenced, and were influenced by, events in other countries. For example, the glass shown was found in Holland, almost certainly made in England and holds French wine, the drink for which it was designed. It is made of lead-crystal glass, then recently perfected in England, but probably using glass-furnace technology developed in Holland, based on the research of a German scientist.

This glass was 'Pioneering' in many senses. The early pioneering settlers in America used glass such as this, leaving behind the glass artefacts that have survived to be housed in the Williamsburg and Jamestown archaeological collections. This age produced innovations in all branches of the glass supply industry. Many of these are covered under the glass making sections. During this period, drinking glass changed from being a fragile status symbol for the rich to a luxury-use item within the reach of many. This and the evolution in drinking habits is covered under drinking. This period also saw the growth of fashion-conscious consumers, leading to glass styles that were designed by merchants for the market and not by the manufacturers.

This page is also pioneering in that it is the first time that there has been a serious attempt to publish material on this topic in any form, particularly electronically. We aim to produce a new edition every few months with both new and enhanced material. We will also take account of any feedback from you. If you fancy doing some pioneering research in this area, let us know, because there are many interesting areas just waiting for discovery. We are continually seeking to expand our knowledge of this subject and may be able to help you, particularly in the fields of vessel glass conservation and the analysis of historic glass.

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Copyright Colin & Sue Brain, 2000