This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
For the grinding of glass, iron, or steel laps and fine sand are first used; after that, the sand is replaced by emery. Then the polishing is started with pure lead or pure tin laps, and finished with willow wood laps. The polishing powder is tin putty, but peroxide of iron or dioxide of tin is a good polishing medium.
Pohl asserts that if glass is polished with crocus (Paris red) it appears of a dark or a yellowish-brown tint. He contends that the crocus enters the pores of the glass, and, to prevent this, he uses zinc white with the most satisfactory results.
Provide two pieces of cork, one concave and one convex (which may be cut to shape after fitting to the lathe). Take a copper cent or other suitable article and soft-solder a screw to fit the lathe, and then wax it to the cork; get a cheap emery wheel, such as is used on sewing machines. Polish the edge on the zinc collar of the emery wheel (or use a piece of zinc). The other cork should be waxed to a penny and centered. Spectacle lenses may be cut on the same emery wheel if the wheel is attached to the lathe so as to revolve. Another method is to take a common piece of window glass (green glass is the best) and make a grindstone of that, using the flat surface for grinding. Cement it on a large chuck, the glass being from 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter.
A graver sharpened to a long point is twisted between the fingers, and pressed against the glass, the point being moistened from time to time with turpentine. When the hole is finished half way, the drilling should be commenced from the other side. The starting should be begun with care, as otherwise the graver is likely to slide out and scratch the lens. It is advisable to mark the point of drilling with a diamond, and not to apply too great a pressure when twisting the graver.
Put garlic, chopped in small pieces, into spirit of turpentine and agitate the mixture from time to time. Filter at the end of a fortnight, and when you desire to pierce the glass dip your bit or drill into this liquid, taking care to moisten it constantly to prevent the drill, etc., from becoming heated.
Place a little alum in acetic acid, dip your drill into this and put a drop of it on the spot where the glass is to be pierced.