Artist: Probably German
Title: Roemer, about 1630-1660

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Shannon

IRONIron Oxide

From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, Northern Europeans burnt local wood and ferns to produce potash (K2CO3) for their glass batches. Iron (Fe) impurities in the potash gave the glass a greenish tint. Although the area’s first glassblowers may have wished for more clarity in their glass, the green color of forest glass, known as Waldglas in German, became highly valued.

A glass such as this, called a roemer, would have been popular for drinking white wine. The raised decorations along the hollow stem are called prunts. They are added to the glass after it is blown, but before it cools. While decorative, they also gave drinkers an excellent grip.