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Glass Peddlers

A glassware peddler
French ms., circa A.D. 1560

Change the clothes, and change the vessels in the baskets from typical Medieval types to Roman ones, and the hawker of glassware depicted here would transform into the kind of itinerant glassworker who roamed the roadways of Rome's northwestern provinces in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. He would carry with him a tool kit of blowpipes, pincers, shears, and so on, so that he could recycle a chunk of cullet—perhaps more than once, over the years—straight back to the household that brought it to him.

Thus, the fragmented neck of a heavy bottle fragment could be transformed into many thinner-walled jugs and cups for the kitchen, or into several unguentaria for perfumed oils or medicinal balms. If this recycling resulted in a few extra vessels, all well and good: they could be sold in the neighborhood, or hawked afresh in the next village on the glassblower's itinerary.