Before I started learning about artisans and their work, the only breakthroughs I could have named that brought more goods to more people would have dated from the Industrial Revolution . . . the wheel and agriculture being my only exceptions.
Reading about potters’ wheels last month, I learned that mechanisms to increase their rotating speed had created a mini-Industrial Revolution a few millenia ago, making it possible for many people to own pottery. This month I learned that what the mechanized potter’s wheel did for pottery, the development of glassblowing did for glass – to some extent, anyway.
Glassblowing replaced fused glasswork as the most widely practiced glass craft of artisans in ancient Rome. Coveted objects could be made faster by blowing than by fusing, and that meant that more people could own them. Nonetheless, glassblowing was a painstaking craft, and only the wealthy could afford the results. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
It still is a painstaking craft – and a very hot one at that. I was grateful for the cool morning air the day I went to LaPorte, a small town northwest of Fort Collins, to watch glassblower Dottie Boscamp at work. Continue reading