Things We Did on Glass

I’ve been thinking of the uses of glass in the Oz books, particularly when applied in a magical way. The Mangaboos live in glass buildings that grew out of the ground and can grow back together again if they’ve been broken. It takes a long time, though, so their buildings being broken is still a calamity for them.

There’s the Glass Cat, animated by Dr. Pipt with the Powder of Life. Although made of glass, she’s quite durable perhaps due partially to magic. Similarly, one of L. Frank Baum’s American Fairy Tales involves a wizard who lives in a tenement house commissioning a glassblower to make a guard dog out of pink glass, which he then brings to life with “a wizzy spell” and “several very learned words in the wizardese language.”

The Red Jinn lives in a castle made of red glass.

In John R. Neill’s Runaway, Jenny Jump, Professor Wogglebug, and Jack Pumpkinhead come across a clearing in a Munchkin forest where a glass man lives in a bubble-shaped glass house. He was cracked in many places and walked with a limp. It’s filled with mirrors, and a reflective glass road leads there. He also kept a glass cow, but whether it produced glass milk is never stated. When he tries to turn the adventurers into glass, Jack kicks him, which shatters not only him but the road, mirrors, house, and cow as well. Perhaps they were eventually repaired.

In Melody Grandy’s Disenchanted Princess, Faraq Geldamom, one of the servants in the palace of Lostland, falls into a glory hole in the glassworks. (Huh huh, I wrote “glory hole.” Actually, the term was used for glassblowing furnaces before it received its more vulgar definition.) When the glassblowers use that hole, Faraq comes out as a man of glass.

He continues to serve in the palace, but the disagreeable King Whippetarius forces him to climb slippery stairs, and he falls and breaks. Zim Greenleaf manages to put him back together and then restore his humanity. When Faraq visits the Emerald City in Tippetarius, he takes a liking to the Glass Cat.


Hugh Pendexter’s Crocheted Cat has a glassblower named Silico who lives in a building in Ev made of glass bricks. He’s a short man with long arms, a bald head, and jowls. One of his creations is his mechanical servant Bidgeroo, made entirely out of colored glass with black glass machinery.

Another is a paperweight made of a steel-glass alloy that he and Vulcan developed together. It houses a miniature world to which the Greco-Roman gods retired when the regular world became too complicated for them. Silico gave it to Ozma for safekeeping, but it was stolen by the Golden Witch, and Lone Badger and his friends had to retrieve it.

Finally, Gina Wickwar’s Hidden Prince introduces the glass-themed kingdom of Silica, located in the Silica Valley of the southern Munchkin Country.

Its ruler, Princess Vitrea, was engaged to Prince Cyan of the Blue Mountain, but the prince disappeared and it took a century to locate him again. When the marriage finally took place, she apparently moved to the Blue Mountain with him. Wickwar doesn’t state who is currently handling royal duties in Silica, although she hints that Vitrea’s cousin Vitrix might take the throne after making amends for working with their nasty uncle Vitriol.

It turns out that the Glass Cat was originally made in Silica, although Dr. Pipt presumably added the pink brains and ruby heart himself. Also made there was a glass bead necklace that Princess Vitrea made for Prince Cyan, which he had his sorcerer Zeebo enchant into a wishing necklace. Other important inhabitants of the kingdom are the glassworks keeper Mr. Chips, the chief glassblower Huffin Puffin, the giant carrier pigeon Venté, and the third assistant turned Chief Bottle Washer Smithereens.

This entry was posted in Characters, Gina Wickwar, Greek Mythology, Hugh Pendexter, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic Items, Melody Grandy, Mythology, Oz, Oz Authors, Places, Roman, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Things We Did on Glass

  1. I’m in awe of your memory!

  2. Pingback: From Olympus to Oz | VoVatia

  3. Pingback: Mangaboos and More | VoVatia

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