Journal article

The glass-melting furnace and the crucibles of Südel (1723–1741, Switzerland): provenance of the raw materials and new evidence of high thermal performances

  • Eramo, Giacomo Département de géosciences, minéralogie et pétrographie, université de Fribourg, Switzerland
Published in:
  • Journal of Cultural Heritage. - 2006, vol. 7, no. 4, p. 286-300
English Fifty crucible fragments and 10 fragments of the melting furnace of the forest glassworks of Südel (1723–1741, Ct. Luzern), were analyzed by petrographic, mineralogical and chemical techniques in order to assess the temperature reached in the melting chamber and to find out which raw materials were used to make the crucibles and the melting furnace. Since the crucibles were used in the melting furnace, the temperature estimations were based on both the crucibles and the refractory fragments, as they were parts of the same system. The temperature range in the melting chamber, estimated by the structural order of the new-formed cristobalite, points to a temperature range between 1350 and 1500 °C. However, three crucible samples recorded extreme temperatures as high as 1650 °C, suggesting very high flame temperatures for wood fuel. The analyzed red bricks were made with local calcium-poor clay. One of them was tempered with refractory fragments, demonstrating an in-house production and the recycling of such a material after its use. The crucibles and the refractory bricks were made with the same refractory clay. The former using unprocessed clay and the latter blending clay with chamotte. A comparison with Sidérolithique clayey sand samples from the Swiss Jura, shows strong affinities which may rule out the archaeological hypothesis of an exclusive provenance of such clays from Germany, suggesting an import from the Swiss Jura mountains.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
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