Traditionally, the glass was melted in furnaces from the raw ingredients of sand, limestone, soda, pot ash and other compounds. The transformation of raw materials into glass takes place well above 2000°F; the glass is then left to "fine out" (allowing the bubbles to rise out of the mass), and then the working temerature is reduced in the furnace to around 2000°F. "Soda-lime" glass remains somewhat plastic and workable, however, as low as 1000°F.
A lampworker, usually operating on a much smaller scale, historically used alcohol lamps and breath or bellows-driven air to create a hot flame at a workbench to manipulate preformed glass rods and tubes. These stock materials took form as laboratory glass, beads, and durable scientific "specimens" - miniature glass sculpture. Still practiced today, the lampworker uses a flame of oxygen and propane. The modern torch permits working both the soft glass from the furnace worker and the borosilicate (low-expansion) glass of the scientific glassblower who may have multiple headed torches and special lathes to help form the glass or quartz used for special projects.