The oldest known method of glass making is known as core-forming or inner-mold forming. The most common form of mold or sand-core was prepared by using coal, sand or quartz and this core was attached to a piece of metal bar to handle the mold easily.
The core is pre-heated and inserted into the molten glass to be covered by the glass. Then a second bar is used to wrap the core which is already covered with the first thin layer of glass with extra fibres of molten glass. After this, the surfaces are made glossy and freed from any irregularities by rolling the glass covered mold on a smooth surface. Different colored glass fibres may be used to decorate the final object. Also by drawing figures and shapes on the soft surface of the glass object with special rakes or sharp metal pieces, early glass makers were able to decorate their items. The mouth, the base and the handle are added to the object at a later stage. Finally, the mold is taken out of the glass object. It is now ready to go out of the workshop.
Another technique, called rod-mold was successfully used in ancient times to make small beads, delicate and tall cups.
The core-forming technique was first developed and used by the Mitanni kingdom in Mesopotamia as early as the 16th century BC. Then it was widely used in Egypt and the east Mediterranean regions. During the last Bronze Age (1500 - 1200 BC), the most important glass production centers were in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Even after the technique was abandoned by Egyptian glass makers in the 11th century BC, the Mesopotamian makers continued and perfected their skills. In the 7th century BC the people of Rhodes and Italy learned this technique from Mesopotamians and continued to improve it.
The earliest forms of glassware found in Italy known to be made with this technique belong to the 8th century BC. They used two different locally developed variations of the technique. Most of the glassworks from this era are found in the 8th and 7th centuries BC Etrusk graves.
Rhodes continued to use the core-forming method until the end of the 5th century BC. During this period the island was known to be the most influencial center of glass making in the Mediterranean region. After the initial influence by the Mesopotamian tradition, the glass makers of Rhodes developed new forms and styles. Alabastron, Amphoriskos, Oinokhoe and Aryballos were the most famous of these original forms.
By the beginning of the 4th century BC, the glass making tradition in Rhodes started to decline despite the inclining trends of the same art form in Italy. The differences did not go any further than some minor changes on the profile and the style of the handle. The traditional forms of glassware in Italy maintained their existance but a few new forms were added to the list. Hydriske and Jar were the most known of these. The opaque spots in various sizes were one of the common style features of this era's glasswares. These spots are the traces of bubbles in the glass mixture and indicate an undedicated workmanship tradition of that time. The best known collections from this era consist of the items which were brought from the east.
By 332 BC, as Alexandria was founded and the Hellenistic culture dominated a large slice of the world, Middle East, Alexandria and some Italian cities became the centers of glass production. The quality of the workmanship was considerably lower than that of the earlier periods.
The core-forming technique disappeared in the 1st century BC as casting and blowing techniques were developed and widely used in various parts of Middle East and Anatolia.
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