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Lacemaker’s magnifying globe*

N° inventaire: TR 2013.1.474 Categories: , Tag:

• Date: late 19th–early 20th

• Place of manufacture: possibly Boussu Glassworks, Belgium

• Manufacturing technique: clear glass, blow-and-turn process (body), cut rims and added stem

• Dimensions: H : 28 ; Ø : 14,2

• Collection: Coll. Ecomusée de l’Avesnois

• Credit: © Lucie Nicolas / Ecomusée de l’Avesnois


This lacemaker’s magnifying globe or condenser was a clever system for concentrating and diffusing light on to lacework. It was filled with water and placed next to a light source. As early as the first century Seneca observed that ‘letters however small or dim are comparatively large when seen through a glass globe filled with water’.The side of the globe nearest the light source acted on the light rays like a divergent lens and the furthest, like a convergent lens. The culmination of these two lens-like effects heightened the intensity of the light.