In 1851, the Crystal Palace, a huge exhibition center made from steel and panes of glass revolutionized the use of glass as a material for domestic architecture.
In 1935, the famous architect Le Corbusier wrote about the glass as the fundamental material of modern architecture. He stated that glass will be a characteristic feature of building in the new machine age, as “glass is the most miraculous means of restoring the law of the sun.”
The last two centuries have brought about a unique use of decorative and functional glass in domestic architecture.
Acid etching is a process invented in the Victorian era. It gives a frosted, etched finish in shades, and is capable of producing very intricate patterns. The process was originally used for decorating windows and doors in public houses and bars, where it gave a luxurious and expensive feel to sitting areas. It also afforded privacy as it is not easy to see through acid etched glass. In a Victorian property, the choice of etched glass or leaded lights was made by the developer of the block or street of houses. The entranceway normally indicated the choice and this style will be repeated in suitable windows in the rest of the building. In the late 1870’s craftsmen invented means of imitating acid etching more cheaply with sandblasting.
The beveled edges of the glass that make up the window come from the process of grinding down and shaping the edge of each piece. The glass pieces are ground down, smoothed out, and then polished. The individual pieces are joined together between metal came strips. Beveled windows incorporate floral designs least often because of the thicker glass, and heavier cames. Shaped tended to be formed of shallow curves. This curved glass can provide intriguing visual effects to the light passing through the windows.
Colored and Stained Glass
During the Arts and Crafts period, most manufacturers were using slag glass and textured glass in both windows and lighting shades. Colored glass became an art form, and color schemes and designs were carefully developed. Later, the term slag glass was used casually to refer to almost any type of pressed opaque glass containing swirls or streaks. Textured glass is made by rolling an embossed roller over the glass.
Iridescent Art Glass
Concealing the bright naked electric light bulb was the goal at the turn of the century art glass shade companies of Tiffany, Quezal, Steuben & Lustre Art. This iridescence causes the surface to shimmer, but also causes a degree of opacity. This iridescent effect of the glass was obtained by mixing different colors of glass together while hot. Once Tiffany, a famous glass manufacturer patented their own version of iridescent glass, called Favrile glass, other companies followed suit. Quezal developed a unique type of art glass shade that had feathered looking detailing.
The sconce was an integral part of the completely lit room at the beginning of the 20th century. A featured hanging pendant would grace the center of the room, while sconce with matching designs and materials, manufactured by the same company, would be hung on the walls around the room. This sconce compliments the corresponding shipper shade chandelier. Slipper shades were popular at the beginning of the 20th century, and are a well-known shape of the Art Deco style. These sconces can also stand for themselves in a hallway or corridor to provide both lighting and a point of interest in a long passage. Hang these sconces in pairs or another patterned configuration to create balance in the space, or use these to frame doorways or line a hallway.
Glass knobs from the first half of the 20th century were made to last. In 1826, the process for molding molten glass was invented. Glass door knobs really took off though when during WW1, the cast brass, bronze, and iron doorknobs that had dominated the hardware market since the beginning of the Victorian era was in short supply, used instead to manufacture airplanes and ammunition. The glass door knob faces were flat so you could peer inside to see the star designs molded into their bases. The beauty of these knobs, it that they still fit into modern locksets, so you can use them in new or old homes. Use these knobs on a decorative front entrance door, on a bathroom door, or customize the bedroom doors along a hallway.
glasswork in our inentory
Etched glass flushmounts
This flushmount light would have likely been used in the upper floors of a Victorian suburban home, were simpler designed lights would go in private spaces of the house, rather than those used to entertain guests. Some of the best intricately etched and cut glass shades were crafted for Victorian era fixtures. This simple flush mount light combines function of directed task lighting, and the aesthetic of these simple etched designs. Rather than using this light for utility spaces, show off this light in a kitchen, hallway, or entry way.
Beveled 'picket fence' picture windows
Beveled glass had been historically expensive, but the sudden availability of inexpensive plate glass at the beginning of the 20th century allowed for mosaic looking windows made out of beveled pieces. The beveled edges of the glass come from the process of grinding down and shaping the edge of each piece. The individual pieces are joined together between metal came strips. This curved glass can provide intriguing visual effects to the light passing through the windows. This style of beveled windows was popular in homes built during the late 19th century and early 20th century. This beveled detail portion of the window provides an intriguing detail while still allowing for a completely transparent view through the window. Place this window in a front room to allow the pattern to be seen from the exterior.
Prairie style windows typically feature a mixture of clear glass and art glass in geometric designs that emphasize verticality. A small geometric detail in yellow and green translucent glass references a flower with leaves. The patterns of the art glass windows designed for prairie style houses were formed by metal came lines. These were as important as the glass, as these dividing lines break up the view to the outside, and cast shadows into the room as patterns. Many of these patterns include tall, linear, geometric shapes. The forms in the prairie style windows reflect the building structure and the landscaping as a part of the overall architecture and surroundings. These would fit perfectly next to a long rectilinear prairie style door with inset glass.
Cast iron exterior sconce pair
Cast iron has excellent resistance to deformation and wear resistance, and will withstand the test of time, which makes these sconces the perfect set of lights for a porch, near a front door, or outside garage doors. The iron base features a touch of Tudor revival with pointed crests, and petal shaped support for the light shade, as well as some Neoclassical style scroll work on the back of the sconce arm. The unique, angular, molded glass globe shade has textured glass, displaying interweaving lines. Place a pair of these on the sides of a garage, or towards the front of the yard to guide visitors to your home.
Art Deco slipper shade
The beginning of the 20th century saw a variety of style in lighting fixtures and their detailing. Art Deco lighting was electric in its combination of traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and material. Shell shaped slipper shades were commonly seen in Art Deco style lighting fixtures of the time. Highly symmetrical detailing suggests foliage designs is also featured on the shades and metal of the lighting fixture. These shades were commonly made of translucent colored glass. Place this fixture in a central space where those passing under can look up and see the Art Deco detailing, and illumination of these soft glass shades.
Three light pan with Tiffany Shades
Concealing the bright naked electric light bulb was the goal at the turn of the century art glass shade companies such as Tiffany and Co. Louis Comfort Tiffany was an American artist and designer that is best known for his work with stained glass. Tiffany developed a type of glass he called Favrile glass, differing from most iridescent glass because the color was ingrained in the glass itself. Covered bulbs will provide a much softer light with a glass shade. Illumination will be especially beautiful however, if it is with an art glass shade. Place this fixture over a dining room table or a kitchen island two provide a pattern of illumination.
Gas Electric Sheffield Sconce
First introduced by American lighting manufacturers around 1900, the graceful lines and distinctive shell-like ribbing of the Sheffield style reference the work of Colonial metalsmiths. This unique sconce is especially functional for the era it was manufactured in, as the begging of the 20th century still saw a major use of gas fixtures before the complete switch to electric lights. The sconce also makes use of an iridescent art glass shade, to provide a softer, diffused light.
Our ecclesiastical stained glass windows receive some of the highest attention from customers. A customer had asked us about how people have incorporated stained glass windows other than hang them behind a window through sunlight. I thought it would be important to highlight a variety of stained glass window design ideas because there are no limitations to the many stained glass shapes, styles, and colors such as geometric, Gothic, and Grisaille.
Installing stained glass windows can be an easy or difficult task depending on how you want to display them. They can be installed as a part of the ceiling, staircase, laundry room, living room, bedroom, bathroom, washroom, and hallway. Stained glass windows come in different sizes and some may be of historic value that should be well-preserved and handled carefully during re-installation. A stained glass window can be placed over an existing exterior window if you don’t want to completely replace a window or if the stained glass is not tempered. Stained glass windows doesn’t always have to be in natural sunlight and can be lit in front of a backlight or lightbox to admit light. If you install a stained glass window in your bathroom or washroom, it may be best to add a glass layer on the inside panel so it can protect the stained glass from water residue.
Picture from Houzz.com