The Great Exhibition of 1851 featured the Crystal Palace, a huge exhibition center made from steel and panes of glass that revolutionized the use of glass as a material for domestic architecture.
Then in 1935, the famous Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier wrote about the glass as the fundamental material of modern architecture. He stated that glass would become characteristic of building in the new machine age, as “glass is the most miraculous means of restoring the law of the sun.”
Without a doubt, the last two centuries have brought about a unique use of decorative and functional glass in domestic architecture, as is exemplified in the following techniques.
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. For Victorian properties, the choice between etched glass or leaded lights was made by the developer of the block or street of houses. The entryway normally indicated the choice and this style was repeated in suitable windows in the rest of the building. In the late 1870’s craftsmen invented a 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 to casually 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.
Concealing the bright naked electric light bulb was the goal at the turn of the century art glass shade companies of Tiffany, Quezal, Steuben, and Lustre Art. This iridescence causes the surface to shimmer, but also causes a degree of opacity. The iridescent effect 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 a kind of feathered detailing.
The sconce was an integral part of a completely lit room at the beginning of the 20th century. A featured hanging pendant would grace the center of the room, while sconces with matching designs and materials, manufactured by the same company, would be hung on the walls. This sconce compliments the corresponding chandelier. These sconces could 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. However, it wasn't until WWI when glass door knobs really took off. The cast brass, bronze, and iron door knobs that had dominated the hardware market since the beginning of the Victorian era were in short supply, since the materials were used 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 is that they still fit into modern locksets, so you can use them in both new and old homes. Use these knobs on a decorative front entrance door, on a bathroom door, or customize the bedroom doors along a hallway.
STAINED GLASS INTEGRATION IDEAS
Our ecclesiastical stained glass windows receive some of the greatest 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. In that spirit, we thought it would be important to highlight the variety of stained glass window design ideas. 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 to protect the stained glass from water residue.