Between the 1970's and 1990's, there was a manufacturing boom of the glass ships in bottles in the UK . . .
Between the 1970's and 1990's, there was a manufacturing boom of the glass ships in bottles in the UK. It was led by the scientific glassblowers, who specialised in fabricating laboratory glass apparatus on a torch flame. The technique of manipulating glass with a gas burner is generally called lampworking (i.e. flameworking), but what distinguishes scientific glassblowers is their technical accuracy and their skill in working with tubing.
When heavy industry began to decline in the 1970's, many scientific glassblowers applied their skills and experiences to the production of the glass ships in bottles, and the cottage industry soon developed into a highly viable commercial enterprise. However, it began to decline in the 2000's after mass-production was adopted and later outsourced to China.
"After leaving Pyrex, we did not make anything else but ships in bottles."
(Brian Jones, scientific glassblower currently runs Wearside Glass Sculptures)
"As a practice-based researcher specialising in the lampworking technique, I took it as my vocation to archive the history of the production of glass ships in bottles and pass down the making skills for the future." (Ayako Tani)