Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka

Photos of extraordinary 19th-century glass sea creatures 

Animals in glass

credit: Corning Museum of Glass

Melissa Breyer (@MelissaBreyer) Science / Animals   

Before underwater photography brought marine life to light, a father and son team made remarkable scientific models using glass techniques still not fully understood.

Although interest in the natural world had slowly been gaining steam over the centuries, it exploded in the 1800s – a time when natural specimens, taxidermy, illustrations and scientific models served to enlighten a culture hungry for a taste of nature. Now we have high-technology to provide glimpses of the natural world near and far, but in earlier times the public relied on artists and craftsmen to help them understand the living wonders of our planet. Which brings us to the father and son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. You may have heard of the Blaschkas’ work before; they are the creators of the well-known Ware Collection of glass flowers at Harvard University, a celebrated display of phenomenal jewel-like flora. The way in which they rendered sea life is no less exquisite; a feat of astonishing accuracy, using flameworking techniques that are still not fully understood, according to the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) which is presenting a large exhibit of the glass models. Read more.


Fragile Legacy from David O. Brown on Vimeo.

This film combines art, science, history, conservation and adventure, following a global quest to find living representatives of bizarre and beautiful sea creatures that were captured in glass over 150 years ago. Narrated by Ted Danson, and featuring Dr. Drew Harvell of Cornell University, Fragile Legacy is produced by David O. Brown,and filmed in Indonesia, Hawaii, Maine and Spain. The film is a call to action, designed to inspire everyone to apply whatever skills they have to save our ocean.

Don´t miss the 20 minutes version of the video:  Fragile Legacy v20min from David O. Brown on Vimeo.