Lampworking is a craft that involves using a torch to melt tubes or rods of glass. When the glass is melted, special tools are used to shape it into different sizes and shapes for the scientific industry.
Lampworking has been practiced for hundreds of years and has a long tradition of popularity in Great Briton and France. Tradesmen used propane, natural, or butane gas with a mix of either air or pure oxygen.
The most popular types of glass used in lampworking are borosilicate glass, or soda-lime glass, which can also be called "soft glass". Borosilicate glass is usually considered easier for beginners to work with because it is more forgiving of small errors in technique, but it is also more expensive. Lead glass tubing was once popular among people interested in lampworking, but concerns about health risks and environmental safety have diminished the demand for this material.
It is common for people to confuse lampworking with glassblowing. Glassblowing requires that the tradesman use a blowpipe to inflate a piece of liquid glass. In contrast, lampworking involves shaping melted glass by the use of gravity, various tools, or blowing into the end of the glass tube. However, both lampworking and glassblowing do use many of the same tools and our glassblowers are proficient in both areas.