Spotlight Collection

Pouring the 200 inch disk at Corning Glass Works

The April spotlight feature for New York Heritage Digital Collections is the Pouring the 200 inch disk at Corning Glass Works from the Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Library at The Corning Museum of Glass. .

In 1928, the famed astronomer, George Ellery Hale, had a vision. He wanted to build the world’s largest telescope at Palomar Mountain in California—a research instrument that would allow scientists to view the skies as never before.

The creation of the largest single piece of glass ever made was entrusted in 1929 to Corning Glass Works using their signature Pyrex®. George V. McCauley, a Corning physicist and engineer, set about achieving what engineers at other companies had failed to do: casting a 200-inch mirror blank.

In March 1934, Corning poured a 200-inch disk, but part of the mold broke loose during the pouring, ruining the blank. The second attempt at pouring was successful and after the disk was finished it was taken by train to Mt. Palomar Observatory in California.

This collection is held by the Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Library, founded as part of The Corning Museum of Glass in 1951. The library is a public institution that houses the world's most comprehensive collection of materials on the art and history of glass and glassmaking. The Library Collection ranges from medieval manuscripts to original works of art on paper to the latest information on techniques used by studio artists. More information on the collection can be found here and here.

The Rakow Library at the Corning Museum of Glass is a member of the South Central Regional Library Council