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Gorgeous gourds

Shoppers browse the MIT Glass Lab's glass pumpkin patch.
Shoppers browse the MIT Glass Lab's glass pumpkin patch.
Photo / Michelle McGuire

The harvest season has begun and the MIT Glass Lab reaped a good one, as displayed at Sunday's glass pumpkin sale.

Sporting skins not often found in nature, the 1,300 colorful gourds drew hundreds of buyers and browsers. The event on Kresge Oval was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., but the line to get into the patch started forming an hour beforehand. By opening time the line stretched from the oval to Massachusetts Avenue, ran down the street and wound around onto Amherst Street.

The Glass Lab made about 400 sales totalling $110,000, $20,000 more than last year's total, said Peter Houk, director of the lab. The reason for the increase was not more pumpkins, but more high-end pumpkins. Prices ranged from about $30 to more than $300.

"It's really important to me that we have a lot of pumpkins for people who can't afford to spend more than $30 to $40," said Houk, who does not plan to increase the lab's pumpkin production to meet demand. "I don't want to run a program that's just about pumpkins," he said.

After deducting for materials, the sale netted about $80,000 to put toward the purchase of materials and equipment for the lab, which is located in the Department of Materials Science.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 22, 2004 (download PDF).

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