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Engraving of Venice by Giacomo Franco

On this page, readers can download a copy of Anita McConnell's research monograph, A Survey of the Networks Bringing a Knowledge of Optical Glass-Working to the London Trade, 1500-1800. The Whipple Museum is delighted to be able to make this important work widely available for the first time, as a free pdf download.

Illustration of glass-makers working with blow-pipes and furnace
Glass-makers working with blow-pipes and furnace. Antonio Neri, Art de la verrerie, Paris, 1752.

In October 2013, esteemed scientific instrument scholar Anita McConnell contacted the Whipple Museum, wanting to know if there was any way of putting online an unpublished work she had completed in 1997 on "how the technology of glass working for optical purposes reached Britain, 1600-1800." This work had long been recognized by colleagues as an important account of glass-making technique, but access had been limited to those few who had seen the limited number of privately printed copies in circulation.

It was therefore decided to organise a way to bring Anita's 'Glass Monograph' (as we fondly refer to the project) to e-daylight, by publishing it as a pdf freely available here on the website of the Whipple Museum. We are immensely proud to sponsor the publication of this outstanding work of scholarship on the history of optical glass-making and -working, and to be able to share it freely with all who are interested in the subject. Furthermore, we are delighted by the opportunity to provide illustrations for this volume of various objects in our collection as well as from the numerous publications referred to in Anita's text and held in the Whipple Library's rare book collection. The resulting publication of Anita's 'Glass Monograph' has been a collaborative project; first begun in 1997, we are very pleased to now be able to share it widely in this modern format, edited by Jenny Bulstrode, currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

The work is dedicated to the memory of Anita herself, who passed away in April 2016, at the age of 80.

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