PRESSED GLASS BEAD MAKING-
The end of a long rod of glass cane is heated in a gas furnace until it is red hot. It is then inserted into a pressing machine which resembles and old fashioned sewing machine. The molten glass is quickly pressed into a mold while a needle is simultaneously inserted to form the hole. Only a few beads can be pressed before the rod must be heated again; therefore, the bead maker alternates between multiple heated glass canes in order to produce continuously. The pressed glass cools slowly as it makes its way down a slide and into a holding container. At this point the pressings do not resemble beads at all; they are still connected together by the excess glass surrounding the edges of the beads. The beads then go through two-stages of tumbling; one which breaks off the large pieces of excess glass and another which smoothes out surface imperfections.