Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop

Why Do Our Glass Artists Wear Purple Glasses?

04 Jan 2016, Posted by Morean Administrator in News

Every Monday, the Morean Arts Center would like to explore new and exciting techniques used by our artists. This week, let's check out why our glass artists wear their funky purple-tinted glasses.

Meet Didymium

In our Hot Shop, we make use of powerful and bright torches to heat the glass outside of our furnaces. The torch is applied to pieces of glass to prevent rapid cooling and fracturing. At almost 1600 degrees, our furnances and these torches give off harmful UV rays that could permanently damage any part of the human eye. In some cases, an artist or welder can develop photokeratisis or "arc eye" which is comparable to a sunburn on the eye. Ouch!

Thankfully though, we have glasses with lenses made out of "didymium." You can spot these on our glass artists by looking for purple or dark-colored eye wear. As a compound of two different elements, didymium works by filtering yellowish light that is closely related to UV rays.

Since didymium doesn't absorb all visible light, soldiers would use didymium glass to send Morse Code across battlefields. Soldiers could read the coded messages using special binoculars.

Anatomy of welding glasses

The glasses that our artists use have a few components. These different parts protect the eyes better than normal, tinted glasses would.

For example, our goggles feature protective plastic shields to prevent light from entering through the side of the eye wear.

These goggles are purchased from specialty stores for around $120.00 a pair. They are used by artists, welders, and anyone else working around intense light or heat.


Learn more

At the Morean Arts Center, our mission is to connect people with art. We do this through fun and exciting classes and events.

We offer affordable classes in glass-blowing and metal working. You can put your knowledge and creativity to the test by enrolling today.

View classes

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