I was just having a conversation with Shani yesterday about how lampworkers and glassblowers today are so spoiled with resources and info. The old school pioneers (like Paul Stankard, Bandu Scott Dunham, Suellen Fowler etc..) started back before there was hardly any literature and NO INTERNET???
Before the 1960's the Murano glassblowers and their secrets were true captives, they weren't allowed to leave the island without the lives of their family being in danger. That's how serious people once were about keeping their techniques and secrets from the rest of the world.
But alas all walls come down eventually. It's been a revolution in glassworking ever since.
Even the Egyptians were making twisted canes and pattern bars what, like... I forget exactly but it was a hell of a long time ago
As far as tools and torches and equipment go, I have always held a quote I read in Bandu Dunhams' "Contemporary Lampworking" book close with me in my glass endevors...
"It's a poor craftsman that blames his tools"
I always think of that when I start thinking that I NEED this tool or that torch to pull off nice work
You'll save some money, some space in your work area and you may just be a better lampworker for it in the long run..