Planet Earth

Glass Blowers Dream of the Sea

Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka were 19th-century glass sculptors who produced perfect re-creations of sea life.

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Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

Leopold and son Rudolf Blaschka were 19th-century glass blowers who somehow produced perfect re-creations of sea life.

Their collection of lifelike glass sea creatures were long-forgotten, until marine biologist Drew Harvell uncovered them in a New York warehouse in the late 1980s. She worked to have the sculptures cleaned up, repaired and conserved. Now, she's attempting to photograph the real-life counterparts to the glass models, but many of the species shaped in glass during the Blaschkas' time no longer exist.

Here's a look at some of those magnificent specimens crafted by the Blaschkas.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

Ophiothrix serrata, the brittle star, is another larger specimen at about 9 by 9 inches.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

Leopold (left) and son Rudolf Blaschka.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

A depiction of Opheodesoma glabra, a sea cucumber featuring 15 tentacles. Measuring nearly 11 by 9 inches, this is among the largest sculptures in the collection.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

A specimen of Argonauta argo, a type of open sea octopus, created by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka from glass, paint, wire and resin.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

A specimen of Ommastrephes sagittatus, a species belonging to the squid family. Ommastrephidae are widely distributed globally and are heavily fished for food.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

The Blaschkas' version of Abralia veranyi, the eye-flash squid, found in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

The sebae anemone, Heteractis crispa, stands tall.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

The sea slug Aeolis papillosa are still relatively plentiful.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass

A close-up of the Blaschkas' Anthopleura artemisia, or burrowing anemone.

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