One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in glass-making) an iron rod used to hold or shape soft glass.
- ‘After the glass has been shaped, the glass object is broken off from the pontil iron, leaving a scar to the object's base.’
- ‘It worked on the same principle, but the molten glass on the end of the pontil iron was impressed with a crisscross pattern, using the glassmaker's pincers.’
- ‘The loops give adequate access for the worker to heat the glass on the pontil rods, especially on breezy days when the cool air can harden the glass very rapidly, giving you little or no time to work it.’
- ‘If free blown, the bulbous glass is attached to a metal rod, called a pontil, for further shaping after reheating in the furnace.’
Mid 19th century: from French, apparently from Italian pontello ‘small point’, diminutive of punto.
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