And now, some 83 years later, it looks like the technology has just about come full circle.
Researchers at MIT and Wyss Institute have discovered a way to 3D print with molten glass. The process is called 3DGP and is done with two stacked glass furnaces. The molten glass gets funneled through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle that extrudes the glass into transparent shapes, similar to how 3D plastic printers work – only much hotter.
Here’s a link to a write-up by the MIT Glass Lab: http://matter.media.mit.edu/news/article/glass-printing-from-mediated-matter1
And here’s a fascinating video of the process – the really interesting part starts at about 1:40: https://vimeo.com/136764796