Dippy little question about "Oscar and Lucinda"

I’m sorry in advance for having so dippy a question (as if my other questions are that intriquing to begin with), but can anyone help me remember the name of the glass piece that is broken in “Oscar and Lucinda” (the movie)…I wan’t to say St. John’s tear…but I can’t remember. It’s broken a few times in celebration, etc. Thanks for your help in advance.

“Oscar and Lucinda” is also a novel, written by Peter Carey.

OK - I don’t think I really have the answer, but I’m thinking that a name like St. Rupert comes into it. St R.'s Tear or possibly Fire. And I am going to have to follow this thread because now I want to know too. (Slight warning - I could just be mixing this up with a glassy story in Iain Banks “Crow Road”, although I hope not.)

Second thrilling installment - I only Read “Oscar and Lucinda” from the library and I don’t have a copy, but “Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable” has a reference to “Prince Rupert’s Drops”.

Apparently they are nothing to do with a physical ailment, but are:

“bubbles made by dropping molten glass into water. Their form is that of a tadpole, and if the smallest portion of the “tail” is nipped off, the whole flies into fine dust with explosive violence.”

That sounds pretty familiar. Any use?

But now the question is, where can I buy a few (dozen)…thanks for your help because I can’t find anything on this anywhere on the 'net.


Yes, but until recently you didn’t have their name, did you? That’s not meant to sound sarcastic, it’s just that I could imagine it being tricky to search for “wee bits of glass that might go bang”. Anyway, when I saw your response, I took a very quick look at Google, and the things are referred to quite a lot (tho’ often in highly scientifc sources, or literary sources).

I don’t know how you would go about obtaining some, but there must be specialist glass-makers around somewhere. (Or Associations of Glassmakers who could recommend a good supplier etc.) Look, I don’t think I’m clever enough to promise to get you links and, believe me, my internet connection is extremely prone to breaking, so I just don’t want to make a promise I couldn’t keep, if that makes sense. I’ll take a look again and see if the right thing comes up.

Just a thought - for what fascinating purpose can you possibly require these explosive little toys?

For a couple reasons:

  1. I have a penchant for curiousities of the past.
  2. It makes for one hell of a fun scare (since the glass breaks into a fine powder, you can break it in your hand without getting cut).

So, I guess to answer your question, there is no purpose, it’s just damn cool. It is something that most people haven’t heard of, much less seen, and it really is a beautiful work of art. The bulbous end can’t be broken with a hammer, but the “tadpole tail” can be broken with little more than a strong breathe. It is truly fascinating (at least, to me).

It’s just part of my ongoing campaign to blend the best of today while taking the time to appreciate the past. I mean, Palm VII’s are nifty, but when they explode, it’s not nearly as pretty.

Hmm. Actually, to hell with pretty - I think I could get a lot of satisfaction by blowing up some computer equipment before the geeks inherit the earth. But that’s just me.

Seriously, I just had another look, and things are going to slow, but I would say you could find a fair amount of refences to them, and for all I know, you might have a private mad-scientist lab where you could play at making your own, but you might be better off hunting in trade directories (and the net) for specialist glassy companies in your area that could help. Best of luck!

That’s “too” slow and “references” and probably other typos. Oops.

Thanks a lot for your speedy help (especially @ monday night) with this. You’re a great asset to this board.

(sorry for bringing this back up to the top again)


S - you are very welcome, as I like useless information anyway. And if your question is still near the top, then there’s every chance it will catch the attention of a passing glass expert. Have fun.