Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/174

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The blank itself is perfectly plain—a simple, heavy bottle with smooth surface. Its proportions are good. The decoration is to consist of a twenty-four-pointed star on the bottom, a series of more or less complicated diagonal cuttings on the bulging sides, and six or eight broad facets around the neck. To these may be added a number of features of less prominence, such as a series of oval facets around the base of the carafe, and some smaller cuttings at the top. It is the glass-worker's custom to begin with the star on the bottom. This is cut entirely by the eye, no design being traced on the glass. The first process is known technically as "roughing" it, and consists in cutting the design in the glass with coarse tools, which leave rough facets, but remove most of the glass to be cut away. The roughing-wheel is made of iron, and is about two feet in diameter. It is mounted on a horizonal axis. The face of the wheel is about seven eighths of an inch broad, and is kept supplied with a mixture of coarse sand and water allowed to constantly drip upon it from a hopper above. The wheel makes about a thousand revolutions a minute, the speed varying with the character of the work to be done. It is slower for the deeper cuttings. The workman seizes the carafe with both hands, and presses the bottom firmly against the edge of the rotating wheel, making a cut across the center, and as far each way as it is desired to have the star extend. Then he turns the carafe around one sixth of a revolution, and makes a similar cut through the center, judging of the distance entirely by his eye. A second turn of one sixth of a revolution, and a third cut along a diameter is made. This gives a six-pointed star. The intervening spaces are then divided by similar cuts, and the spaces thus formed again divided, giving a twenty-four-pointed star.

A tyro in the art would make a very poor figure of it, but the regular cutters become exceedingly expert, and are able to make comparatively perfect designs in this seemingly off-hand fashion. A trained eye will, of course, have no difficulty in detecting inaccuracies, but the designs are symmetrical enough for all purposes of decoration,

The cutting does not yet possess much beauty, for its faces are as rough as ground glass. Already, however, it begins to show the promise of what it is to be. In treating the bulging sides of the carafe, greater difficulties present themselves in disposing the pattern symmetrically. It is, therefore, the custom to paint a number of guiding lines on the surface of the glass. A few circular lines surrounding the carafe, and a few up-and-down lines afford a series of intersections which are sufficient to enable the cutter to develop a uniform pattern. In the same way the facets surrounding the neck are determined by a couple of limiting cir-