How It Works: Episode 1

2014, Technology  -  24 min Leave a Comment
Rating from 1 user
Report Documentary


2 min read

Find out how grand pianos are built by hand from the pedals up, why the humble tap never lets you down and how the soy sauce and wine glasses are made.

It's not just the grape or vineyard which affects the flavor of a great wine. The glass makes a difference too. An average factory makes a quarter of a million of them every day but before mass production you have to start with a prototype.

You may not pay much attention to the shape but each glass is scientifically designed to enhance the flavor of the wine it's intended for. For example there's a bitter agent in red wine called tannin. This only mellows when it comes into contact with air. So to lose some of the harshness the glass has to have a wide bowl which can let the wine breathe. You should only pour a third of the glass and then you'll be able to swirl it around to speed things up.

It's the other way around for whites. They have subtle aromas which are important to the flavor. These aromas drift away when they make contact with the air. So you need a small narrow glass to keep the aromas where they belong. A 3D image is modeled on the computer and then a prototype is made by hand.

The blower's got to keep the pipe moving or the white hot semi fluid substance would drop to the floor. A mold has been made to the glass designer's exact specifications. The glass is blown in and sets in about 15 seconds. They warm up the bottom of the bowl and then add another blob of glass. That's cut, stretched and then turns to make the stem. They add a final blob and then press it into a mold to make the base. The prototype is a success and the design is ready to go into mass production.