Itinerant glassworkers were lampworkers (or flameworkers), which means they used a flame to soften and manipulate rods and tubes of glass. Although their equipment was smaller and more compact than that of a glassblower, it gave them the ability to be mobile, and by no means limited the variety of techniques they demonstrated to crowds.

Glassworkers took advantage of the public’s interest in their art by incorporating the process of making glass pieces into their shows. They used a range of techniques, including spinning, working, silvering, weaving, and blowing. Some skills required special equipment, like a wheel used to spin fine strands of glass. Others just took practice and concentration.

Common demonstrations included making ships, birds with spun glass tails, animals, pipes, and spinning and silvering glass. The glassworkers made examples of these items and others before the show to give or sell to attendees.

Read more about techniques.