Scientific experiments have frequently been a component of lampworker demonstrations, from the earliest-known itinerant glassworkers through the flameworkers who demonstrate at museums and attractions today. Within decades of the first written mention of the Cartesian diver, 17th-century itinerant glassworkers had incorporated the experiment into their shows.

Nineteenth-century artisans responded to the growing public interest in scientific knowledge by adding experiments to their advertisements. Some glassworkers took this a step further, calling themselves “professor” (without the academic credentials to justify the title) and including lectures in their shows. This gave them an air of knowledge and authority.

A few of the many experiments itinerant glassworkers included in their demonstrations were: Cartesian divers, pulse glass circulators, philosopher’s hammers, cryophorus deception glasses, hydropneumatic fountains, and hydrostatic balloons – a veritable mad scientist’s lab.

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