Celebrating a Century of Glass Technology

Presenting Author:
John Parker

article posted 13 Apr 2016

John Parker

John Parker moved to Sheffield from the University of Cambridge in 1971, having completed a first class MA in Natural Sciences, a PhD and a post-doctoral NERC fellowship studying aluminosilicates with incommensurate structures. At Sheffield he has developed interests in both the optical/structural properties of glasses and the technology of bulk glass making, supported by links with local glass manufacturers.

Now Emeritus Professor of Glass Technology, John is actively involved in the International Commission on Glass, and is past-president of both the Society of Glass Technology and the European Society of Glass Science and Technology.

His particular research interests have recently fallen in the area of optical properties of glass, particularly the way dopant ions interact with light. This has led him into areas ranging from fibre optics to glass colour, history and art.

As Curator, John is responsible for the collection of Glass Artefacts held in the Turner Museum at the University of Sheffield. These are mostly works collected during the first half of the 20th Century but there are both newer and older items of significance too.

"To make much better glass ..."
AHG - SGT Joint Study Day

W E S Turner and the story of
a certain University Department
and a certain Learned Society

John Parker
University of Sheffield
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

My talk will look partly at Turner the man but will then go on to examine the data stored in the pages of the early editions of the Journal of the Society of Glass Technology. The transactions of the Society meetings contained there offer a useful supplement to the various histories written about Turner, providing detailed accounts of the discussions that took place in developing the department's and SGT's activities.

The papers published in the Proceedings sections from 1917 onwards also give a clear indication of the issues facing glass makers at the that period, particularly those associated with WW1. For example raw materials and refractory issues are prominent in early volumes but more surprisingly so are papers on lampworking. The latter were undoubtedly linked to classes Turner organised for returning serviceman after WW1. Some examples of how Turner and his colleagues were able to assist the glass makers of the time in developing their products will complete the presentation.