The Sweet Sounds of Glass

Musical Glasses: Boston Museum of Fine Art

Musical Glasses: Boston Museum of Fine Art

While in Boston Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It is a wonderful, and incredibly broad collection of artwork and artifacts in a deeply historical setting. One of the first rooms I went into at the museum was full of musical instruments that couldn’t help but bring a smile to your face. And the musical glasses did not disappoint.

Dated at approximately 1830, the lead glasses known as the Grand Harmonicon made in Baltimore, Maryland, are clearly marked with the perfect pitch without having to be filled with water. Moistened fingertips were all that was required to play this set within a beautiful mahogany stand.

Muscial Glasses: Armonica - Boston Museum of Fine Art

Muscial Glasses: Armonica – Boston Museum of Fine Art

An improvement to the individual glasses is the Glass Armonica; glass bowls spinning simultaneously that allow the musician to play up to 10 different notes at once,…which was all but impossible with the former design. It was an extremely popular instrument for a short time in history. Benjamin Franklin is credited with inventing it in 1761. The model on display in Boston is from the early 1800s. Mozart, Handel, Strauss, and Beethoven all wrote pieces specifically to be performed on the Glass Armonica.

MFA, Boston Reception Desk

MFA, Boston Reception Desk

I would be remiss to not mention the extensive use of back-painted glass at the museum. At the reception desk, interactive computer kiosks, and elevator interiors. The neutral gray they chose was sophisticated and calming with the interior of the space. So lovely and easy to clean,…surely that is music to any museum curator’s ears.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Elevator Interior

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Elevator Interior

Gardner Glass Products, Inc. is the creator of the Dreamwalls family of interior decorative glass products, including Dreamwalls Color Glass backpainted glass.  Headquartered in North Carolina with 2 additional locations nationwide, Gardner Glass provides high-quality , fully fabricated glass to contract glaziers, glass distributors, installers, OEM accounts, and the architecture/design community. 

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