Chemistry and Biochemistry

Bruno Szalkowski Donates Unique Glass Piece

Posted: Mar 27, 2018

One of the most interesting sections of the Nicholes Building used to be the glassblowing laboratory where Bruno Szalkowski, who learned his skill in Germany, used to create all types of complicated glass equipment for chemistry, physics, and biology laboratory experiments. “There is no item created in glass blowing that is really simple. It takes real coordination to keep the proper proportion,” explained Bruno at the opening of his glass shop on Main Street in Park City, Utah. He explained that “glassblowing includes manipulation of molten glass, it’s about the consistency of honey under high heat, as well as actual blowing.” After using a blowtorch that emits a flame of 1200 degrees centigrade, Bruno places his completed art work on a flat black block of pure carbon so that the glass will not stick to it and so remain free of impurities. Part of Bruno’s impressive showcase includes a Cinderella carriage, pictured below.

Bruno was born on June 20, 1936 in Essen, Germany. Following the Second World War, Brunos’ family moved to the United States. Brigham Young University (BYU) recruited Bruno in 1975 for his glassblowing skills in order to make custom apparatuses for not only BYU but other nearby universities as well. 

Bruno is pleased to donate this one-of-a-kind piece to the Benson Building.The apparatus was used for fractional distillation where one liquid would be separated from another one and purified. The Fishbowl inside the Benson building will house not only Bruno’s donation but other pieces of his work for all to see.


Picture 1: Dr. Dearden holding a picture of Bruno alongside the donation

Pictures 2 and 3: Bruno's "Cinderella Carriage"


Photographer: Kuang Lee

Writer: Taelin Wilford