Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/35

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
25
GLASS-MAKING.

artists have learned to adapt them to their picture-windows as well as to their geometrical designs. The workmen have attained no little skill in the art of mixing. They have learned to reduce the accidental element in this apparently hit-or-miss process to a minimum, and with a fair degree of accuracy to secure predetermined combinations. The mixture of blue and white translucent glass in particular is made to represent sky effects as naturally as if the colors had been laid on by an artist's brush. It is true that this combination is prone to represent an August sky; but this is not to be regretted, since at no other season of the year are the heavens more beautiful.

By this mode of manufacture the glass has an unequal thickness and consequent varying depth of color that well adapt it for art purposes. For certain uses, however, particularly for drapery, the differences in color tone are still not sufficiently great, and other devices must be resorted to. A special product, known as drapery glass, has of recent years been added to the already extended list, and produces a most excellent effect. While the sheet of glass on the casting table is still sufficiently hot to be plastic, it is seized by suitable tools, and rumpled up until it looks like a piece of crumpled cloth. It is permitted to cool in this condition, and, when introduced into a picture-window, presents a luminous substitute scarcely less natural than real drapery. One is almost tempted to run his hand over the folds to try their texture.

It is by processes so painstaking and so ingenious as these that the material for our picture-window is won. The industry is still a comparatively new one, yet so marked are the improvements witnessed by the passing years that the artist is now almost unrestricted in making the design of his window. Should it contain any effects not expressible in materials already at hand, the deficiency is only an incentive for further effort, and the needed material is pretty sure to be speedily forthcoming.

So much for the body of our window: the soul of it comes by a less visible process.

In some quiet moment, under the influence of a strong sentiment, or in the face of an inspiring vision, a suggestion of beauty is evolved in the artist mind. Why it comes in one brain rather than in another it would be difficult to say. Whether it is the result of some subtile chemical reaction in the gray and the white, or the incomprehensible force that has caused this reaction, it seems almost useless to inquire. But in some way or other the vision comes, and finds lodgment under a hospitable roof. It is entertained and communed with until it takes definite shape, and the conception is committed to paper. It is at first little more than a suggestion, a small colored sketch. If this prove satisfactory, it becomes the nucleus of a window, and undergoes its first