Back to Black|
Posting Number 2845 Date: 12/07/17 Return to Posting List
The Rockwell Museum's Reifschlager Gallery Pre-2000
Back To Black
Photos, courtesy of The Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY
Tempest in a Test Tube
Im bemused by the discussion that ensued after mention of author Eric E. Ericsons comments about Steubens Mirror Black. I pulled down my [rightfully dusty] copy of Ericsons Book 1, and turned to page 61. All he says is that an example of Steuben glass in this color, when subjected to an intense concentrated light source, the light will appear pinpointed as a potassium permanganate, i.e., violet red. Nowhere does he state that this color effect was produced by the actual use of potassium permanganate in the glass formula. As always, careful reading is important, along with some basic logic. Had Ericson compared another color of Steuben glass to something in nature, we wouldnt jump to the conclusion that the glass formula contained that, now would we? If he were to compare one of the opaque yellows to the color of an egg yolk, no one capable of rational thought would read that to mean the color was achieved by the use of eggs in the formula.
Ericson was merely comparing the described color effect to something that would be familiar to any high school student who took a basic chemistry class. How many of us recall our chemistry teacher putting a few drops of potassium permanganate into a beaker of water, to illustrate the principle of diffusion? The resulting color is distinctive, and Ericson must have felt that the colors were similar, thus the analogy.
As a collector of black glass myself, I honestly wish that people would stop mentioning the shows purple when held to strong light aspect that some of this glass shows. I believe that it is irrelevant to the intent of glassmakers, who simply wished to produce glass that was black in color under virtually all conditions of daily home use.
All this being said, I still appreciate the chemistry lesson, and I value the chemical analysis of Carders colored Steuben glass highly. After all, I believe it was Dr. Merkels work which revealed that the color we had been calling Topaz was actually one of Steubens amber shades.
Click to view image one: Rockwell192.jpg
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