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Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century Manufacture of Drawn Glass Tubing for Glass Beads


Lester A. Ross

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Late 19th- and early 20th-century archaeological sites often contain machine-made drawn glass beads with unique shapes and perforations. Little information exists documenting when these beads were initially manufactured. Through an examination of hundreds of U.S. patents, it appears that the mechanized production of drawn beads could have occurred as early as the late 19th-century, but more likely, they were not mass produced until the end of World War I, after the invention of the Danner process for mechanically drawing glass tubing. Machine-made drawn beads with multiple sides and/or shaped perforations also appear to have been produced by the late-19th century, but again, mass production probably did not occur until around the end of World War I.

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The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.

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