A portion of molten glass would be attached to a pontil rod. Air was then blown through the rod and into the mass to form a bubble. When it reached an appropriate size the bubble was opened, the rod was spun, and sheet glass would form by centrifugal force. Once cooled, the glass was cut. The thinnest was at the edge and the thick, opaque, area around the mark left by the pontil was known as the crown or bullseye. This technique was used well into the 17th century. While advances in glass production were introduced in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it wasn’t until 1957 that techniques used to produce float glass were developed in the United Kingdom.

The farm traces its origins to 1652.  Nothing went to waste back then and bullseyes were installed above the transom of the solid front door to allow light to illuminate the hall. These were mounted high up and I needed something to stand on. The chairs and tables were antique so I lifted the camera above my head and stood on tiptoes. From where she stood she could see the LCD and provided guidance … left, too far, OK, up, more, down, OK. The larger shot shows evidence of the molten glass having been spun during production.



11 thoughts on “Bullseye

  1. Occasionally, I come across very old homes or buildings that have rippled glass in the windows, but I’ve never seen anything like this. They’re a wonderful way to let light into the house. Now, I’m wondering whether my miniature antique oil lamp in the bullseye pattern might have taken its design and name from that old glass technique. The lamp was pressed, so the bullseyes aren’t authentic pontil marks, but the resemblance is clear.

    • Glad of your appreciation. Old glass surely is fascinating stuff. Most believe that old panes are thicker at the bottom than at the top because they mistakenly learned that glass is a supercooled liquid when it is actually an amorphous solid. Glass does not slump or sage over time. An old pane is thicker at the bottom because it was placed into the window that way and was formed by centrifugal force. And the ripples you mention also speak to age and having been formed before the techniques of float glass manufacture had been developed. Thanks for checking in Linda.

  2. Love that these original transoms have been preserved. That they are still intact proves that things were made well back in the day. Love the greenery outside as you look through. The bottom image looks as if it’s actively swirling!

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