Meet Mr. Haas, he makes eyes

Here’s a story of an ocularist who makes prosthetic eyes from glass. Obviously here’s a necessary and important service, but we find it surprising that this seems something of a dying art. [Mr. Haas] lives in the UK but notes that most glass eye makers have been German, and tend to pass the trade down to their children. With that father-to-son daughter transfer of knowledge becoming less common these days we wonder just how many people know how to do this any longer.

But don’t despair, it’s not that there won’t be a source for ocular prosthesis, as acrylic eyes are quite common. But what we see in the video after the break is breathtaking and we hate to see the knowledge and experience lost the way vacuum tube manufacture and even common blacksmithing have.

[via Engadget]

Comments

  1. pod says:

    Sorry
    This video does not exist.

    :/

  2. Ross Domke says:

    Here is the vid on vimeo, http://vimeo.com/2071796

  3. sd says:
  4. Will says:

    video embed fail

  5. Mike Szczys says:

    Hmmm… wonder where the original went. Oh well, updated.

  6. Alaska says:

    I’d also like to note that while there are acrylic options, those don’t work for everyone. A family member of mine was born with one deformed eye and is allergic to acrylic. Others have experienced issues making acrylic ocular prosthesis not an option. It’s too bad there are only a few makers of these anymore – and the true masters of this art are few and far between (I’m not sure there are any more – whose eyes are custom and indistinguishable).

  7. jeff says:

    Someone must become this master’s student and carry on his legacy.

  8. M4CGYV3R says:

    I actually taught myself to form glass after watching that vacuum tube video you posted a while back. I still watch it every once in a while.

    Judging from my experience learning with glass, it should only take a couple weeks to get the basic technique and then the rest is just practicing until you’re good at it.

  9. chronbit says:

    HEY, you not come here ilregal! Hey. Hey. Cold! Those are my eyes! Freezing!

  10. Blurr says:

    What happens when you fall or something and the glass eye shatters into a bunch of razor sharp shards inside your eye socket?

  11. crizo says:

    Now that’s funny!

  12. waffles says:

    I’m a glassblower that makes eyes as well but I make mine out of borosilicate (pyrex) and this guy uses softglass. I can;t believe he is not wearing the correct eyeware as working glass in a torch will give you blind spots like welding.
    [IMG]http://www.tokecity.com/forums/picture.php4?albumid=3169&pictureid=41122[/IMG]
    I put my eyeballs on sculptures, pipes, jewelry and other functional art instead of putting them on real people.
    The information is still being passed on and in the last 10 – 20 years more techniques have been discovered and upgraded then any other time in history as a direct result of pipe makers blowing glass. talkglass.com is a great online resource for glassblowing if any one is interested. I make my eyes using a different technique that allows so much more detail to be put in the iris. He may be the last person making eyes for people there but I bet that there are dozens of lampworkers in the uk making eyes for there own admiration of an eyeball.
    My email is waffles1200@hotmail.com if anyone wants any glass eyeballs for their projects. I can make them tiny tiny to about the size of a baseball, hollow or solid.

  13. DarwinSurvivor says:

    @Blurr The eye socket is quite good at protecting the eye. Otherwise every time you fell down, you real eye would get squished.

  14. icebrain says:

    Was I the only one to think of Bladerunner when I read the title?

  15. zool says:

    i wonder if he gets requests for some crazy looking eyes

  16. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    Glass *CAN* shatter but pyrex glass is very, very strong. In fact, it can take a huge compression force before breaking. Something on the order or 40 MPa (6000 psi) or more. Far, far, far more than your soft tissues could take. Also – surface defects are what cause glass to become weak and ultimately fail. I would imagine that anything in your eye socket would be VERY VERY smooth (and well protected from damage).

    Adult toys are sometimes made out of glass because they are non porous, easy to clean and chemically inert. As long as you avoid throwing them at walls or putting them in blenders, they hold up very, very well. Of course, silicone toys are basically rubbery (silicone) glass chemically and silicone rubber obviously can’t have sharp edges or shatter so those are also good alternatives for adult toys. But honestly, the only thing that is going to cause a glass eye to shatter would be a very, very large impact. Like being hit in the eye by a very fast moving object. Which would hurt a real eye as much, if not more.

    So yes, it *could* be an issue in theory but in practice – it is really a non issue. But it is still amusing when people’s first reaction is to think *gasp* what if it shatters?!?! If it does, that is the least of your worries.

  17. MRC says:

    @icebrain

    No.

  18. Roy Batty says:

    If only you could see what I have seen with your eyes.

  19. strider_mt2k says:

    So…all an accomplished glass eye blower needs is a really good pupil!

    Iris my case.

    (ducks)

  20. flxgray says:

    http://www.wo-foo.com/?p=392

    Stole your article. Aside from that… My first thought was, oww! If there’s a burr in there, its gonna chew up the inside of your eyelid!

  21. Frogz says:


    heres the video from how it’s made(not the same video but the same process)

  22. Ryan says:

    Glasswork isn’t really a dying art. If anything, it is becoming more popular over time.

    The true name for what he is doing (working glass with a torch) is lampworking as it was originally done over an open flame lamp.

    Nowadays you can get starter kits for 50-100$. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of hobbiest lampworkers (most who make beads and marbles). It is almost shocking to see how common lampworking is as a hobby. Most of us could do an eye no problem, although getting something realistic is another story.

  23. Ryan says:

    Lampworking and glassblowing used to be incredibly secretive back when glass was first discovered. Making something clear and shiny was a big deal and people would be killed to keep the methods secret.

    Nowadays glass culture is basically synonymous with smoking pot since pipes are one of the main “shapes” you can make in glass. As one might imagine everyone has become a lot more chill about sharing.

  24. Halexander says:

    You can only imagine what’s going on inside my head since I read this article -after- watching that little animation about spherical objects Ray William Johnson posted on Youtube.
    [Spoiler Alert]
    You-you-you ain’t seen my eye-balls.

  25. xorpunk says:

    why did I think of blade runner when I seen the entry title?

  26. ino says:

    Ocularists switched to acrylic because it’s much more affordable to work with and you can make them easily from molds, so they are really fitted for the patient.
    Not every patient’s condition requires a full spherical “glass eye”. Lot’s of people only require a thick lens that copy the appearance of the remaining eye, just to cover a damaged eye (my case actually).

    Anyway, they do give a “new face” to people and for that I’m really grateful!

  27. spiffwilkie says:

    My dad has had a glass eye for the last 40 years and has never had one break. There’s almost no chance of one breaking while it’s in the socket (maybe getting shot? which is how the real one met its match) and his eye has fallen out a few times onto various surfaces without shattering.

  28. grenadier says:

    That vacuum tube video was one of the coolest fucking things I’ve ever seen.

  29. Roy Batty says:

    Mr. Haas, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes!

  30. M.Funkibut says:

    The guy I know who shot out his eye just finds acrylic uncomfortable and has to go way south of Atlanta to get new glass ones these days.

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