Under glass

Posted by R. Berg on September 05, 2001

In Reply to: Under glass posted by ESC on September 05, 2001

: : I am wondering what the phrase "under glass" means. One may say that such and such is frozen/fixed under glass. I feel that I only have a partial understanding of this phrase.

: Maybe it refers to objects protected and displayed under a "bell jar." See illustration here -- www.tiac.net/users/shansen/belljar/ Or maybe it refers to an item pressed and preserved between two panels of glass. Anyone have other ideas?

My number one impression when I read a nonliteral use of "under glass" is fixity. Something kept under glass can be viewed but not changed. Suppose it's a manuscript, for instance, and you spot an error in it . . .
It's like the often heard "These rules aren't carved in stone," but different.