Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
Sandy Cove is the tourist beach next to Rocky Bay and it is a very popular place to be in the hot weather. Many holidaymakers go there to swim and sunbathe. The children love to build sandcastles and there are things to do for people of all ages.
There are little shops, cafes, ice cream kiosks and places of entertainment along the promenade.
One of the most interesting shops to visit is the glass shop.
Here, people can watch vases and ornaments being made out of molten glass and then they can buy these unique souvenirs to take home to remind them of their summer holidays at Rocky Bay.
You may have seen someone working with glass when you were on holiday. lt is really fascinating to watch because you don’t know how the glass will look until the craftsman or woman finishes their work.
Blowing glass is very skilled work. The glass-blower dips the end of a long rod in a bucket of molten glass which is kept in a furnace. This rod is actually hollow so that when the glass-blower wants to inflate the glass to make it into a glass or vase with an empty inside, he blows down the tube and the air that he blows inflates the glass as though it were a balloon.
He has to keep the glass at a constant temperature, so he has to keep returning to the furnace to reheat the glass he is working with. He also has to keep turning the glass by rolling the blowpipe backwards and forwards along a flat surface as the glass wants to drop downwards towards gravity like hot, melted toffee.
The glass is pinched and twisted and pulled with long metal tools. The glass blower needs to keep his fingers well away from the hot glass!
After the glass has cooled down, other workers, who are also very skilled, can decorate the glass with pictures. These artists use an engraving tool which is a small, whirling, sharp-edged wheel that etches (or scratches) little lines onto the glass. lt is the skill of the artist that turns these little lines into attractive pictures.
Otherwise, pictures can be painted on with special paint that will not wash off when the glassware is washed.
Did you know that glass is made from a special type of sand?
Glass making can be traced back five and a half thousand years – so it has been around for a long time.
At first, it was made in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and was costly to make, so was only for the rich.
When glass blowing was invented by Syrian craftsmen about two thousand years ago, glass objects could be made much faster and the price came down. lt seems strange, but the technique has not changed much in all that long time!
The Romans took glass all over Europe as their empire spread and they were the first to use it for architectural purposes.
ln the 13th century, the glass makers of Venice in North ltaly were famous for their skills, but although they tried to keep their craft a secret, the knowledge of the technology they used spread across Europe, and by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there were people in countries in Northern Europe who had become experts in glass production.
Then in 1674, an English glassmaker called George Ravenscroft, invented lead glass. This was a major breakthrough in the history of glass. Before this people used soda glass which was not as strong.
The first glass factory in the United States was set up in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608.
ln 1903 in America, Michael Owens invented a bottle blowing machine that could produce two and a half thousand bottles an hour and in the 1950s, Sir Alistair Pilkington introduced a production method to make flat glass; a method which is still used extensively today.
Now we have glass in our windows that can repel rain drops to make it easier to clean and can darken when the sun is bright. Some windows become frosted at the touch of a finger – useful technology when you want to have a bath!
There were no glass windows in mediaeval castles and in most mediaeval houses, the windows were just square holes in the walls; when it rained or was cold, flaps were brought down to shut out the weather.
The grand churches and cathedrals of the time had the most magnificent stained glass windows though, and different substances were used to create the different colours: gold for red, copper for green and urine for yellow – yes, l did just say that. The glass was made by melting sand, potash and lime together in clay pots. This was called pot-metal glass.
ln the Tudor Era, rich people had glass in their windows. The panes were very small and often diamond-shaped. They were held in place by a lattice of lead strips. Lead is a very soft metal that can be worked using hand tools.
The Georgians had bigger panels of glass in their windows and the size of glass window panes has grown since.
ln the early 1800s, there was a great demand for window glass called crown glass. You can still see this type of glass in windows of older houses today.
This hand-blown glass is created by blowing a bubble of air into a gather of molten glass and then spinning it, either by hand or on a table that revolves rapidly; rather like a potter’s wheel. The centrifugal force causes the molten bubble of glass to open up and flatten. lt can then be cut into small sheets. Glass has been made like this for hundreds of years – and some is still made like this today.
The centre of the glass that was attached to the blow pipe had something called a ‘bull’s-eye’ in it and although this was the cheapest part because you can’t see through it very well, people like to use it to make a window look decorative and quaint. A window will still let in light and keep the weather out even if the glass is thick, uneven and full of air bubbles.
ln Victorian times, and even beyond, the middle classes had bay windows at the front of their houses and the houses of the working class had flat windows. Windows have been indicating the wealth of the people inside a house for a very long time!
Think about how many other objects you have inside your house that are made of glass. l bet there are loads!
So if you ever come to Sandy Cove, don’t forget to give the glass shop a visit, will you – it is really very interesting.
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And see you again next Fun Friday!
Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bob: Did you hear about the silly glass blower?
Bill: No, what happened?
Bob: He sucked instead of blew and got a pane in his tummy!
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.
Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com
Roman glass 4th century
Crown Glass bull’s-eye
Glass can protect from the weather but let light through
Cold frames protect young plants in cool spring weather
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
On Monday morning, as usual, Emily was waiting outside her back gate for Bill and Bob to come and collect her. Auntie Alice was on her way too, but coming from the other direction.
Roger, a boy from Emily’s class, came along and asked her where she was going.
Then Auntie Alice arrived just at that moment with Henry. Auntie Alice said Roger could come along to her cottage and play as well, as long as it was alright with his parents.
“The more the merrier”, she said.
When Roger saw how big Auntie Alice’s garden was, he had an idea for a new game.
He said that they could build an obstacle course around the garden and time themselves to see who could be the fastest.
Auntie Alice said it would be alright to do that but she would check everything was safe before they started and they must clear up after themselves too.
The children promised that they would.
First, they built something to crawl under by putting some hardboard over four chairs.
Then they found lots of other things in the shed to climb over and some hoops to step into.
They put some old sheets on some washing lines to hang across the course and in the middle they set up a target and left a toy bow and arrows set on the ground.
The idea was, that if you hit the target, you could have one minute knocked off your time.
When they were ready, Auntie Alice checked that she thought everything was safe to use and then she insisted on timing the children as they ran round. She found an old stop watch in a drawer. She said if she did the timing, it would be fair and there would be no arguments.
They each had three turns and Auntie Alice carefully noted each time on a sheet of paper.
In the end, nobody managed to hit the target because they were all trying to shoot the arrows too quickly as they tore round the course!
Auntie Alice said they had to find the winner by finding the average time of each competitor.
She showed the children how you could do that.
Each time for each person was added together.
Then the total was divided by three because they had each had three turns at going around the course.
The answer was the final time for each person.
I am not sure who won in the end – I think it was Bill – but anyway, after all that exercise they were all ready for a big lunch!
TO ADVERTISE ON THIS BLOG
Unmuddle the letters to find things that are made of glass…
lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO MAKE A KNlTTED SCARECROW’S CLOTHES
And now some clothes for the knitted scarecrow featured on last week’s blog post.
TROUSERS (KNIT TWO)
Using 3½mm knitting needles and green dk yarn cast on 30 stitches
Knit 4 rows of knit 1, purl 1 ribbing
Change to 4mm knitting needles
Knit 16 rows in stocking stitch
Cast on 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 rows (34 sts)
Knit 20 rows in stocking stitch
Knit 2 rows in garter stitch
TO MAKE UP
Sew the back seam and the front seam at the top right sides together using over-sew stitching
Sew the inside leg seams right sides together using over-sew stitching
Crochet 120 chains into a length of green yarn and thread through the top of the ribbing to pull the top of the trousers in when the trousers have been put onto the scarecrow
JACKET BACK (KNIT ONE)
Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 22 stitches
Knit 50 rows of garter stitch
JACKET FRONTS (KNIT TWO)
Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 22 stitches
Knit 36 rows of garter stitch
SLEEVES (KNIT TWO)
Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 26 stitches
Knit 22 rows of garter stitch
TO MAKE UP
Note that all the pieces are sewn together with the knitting lying sideways
Sew the shoulder seams right sides together using over-sew stitching
Sew the top of the sleeves to the shoulders right sides together using over-sew stitching
Sew the side seams and under sleeve seams right sides together using over-sew stitching
Turn the jacket right side out and put onto the scarecrow
Crochet 120 chains into a length of straw-coloured yarn to make the belt for the jacket
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015
Quick Quiz Answers
- wiwdon – window
- save – vase
- mriror – mirror
- swcrinneed – windscreen
- totleb – bottle