ANTIQUE GLASS - production and use in stained glass windows

Antique glass refers mostly to the process of flat glass production by the traditional mouth-blown method.

The molten glass is gathered from the pot on the glass-blowers hollow pipe called a punty.  Usually one colour is blown at a time; however dips into different pots of colour can incorporate many colours in one sheet by careful manipulation of the molten glass.

As air fills the balloon of glass on the punty it is swung and shaped until it forms a long cylinder, and when it has reached the intended size and whilst still fluid it is cut from the rod.  The ends are removed, and a transverse score is made along the cooled cylinder.  The glass is re-heated and opened out in a kiln called a ’lehr’ and flattened out into a sheet.  Once the stress has been released from the glass by careful controlled cooling through a specific temperature range (called ‘annealing’) it is ready to be cut and glazed into stained glass windows.

The art of making antique glass is still practised by one firm in the U.K. but much of the translucent glass in use in stained glass studios in the UK is imported from France (St Just), Germany (Lamberts) and Poland (Tatra).  

This antique ‘muff’ or ‘cylinder glass’ includes hundreds of colours in beautiful single colour sheets or ‘flashed’ glass combinations where a thin layer of top colour is applied to another colour glass, enabling etching and engraving to reveal both colours in the one piece.

As the methods of antique glass production have changed very little over the centuries we can often replace broken antique glass in historic windows with newly made antique glass which is indistinguishable from the original.  Damaged stained glass windows require the careful matching of colour and type of glass and a skilled restorer needs a very large pool of glass to achieve a perfect match.

In historic buildings and Grade 1 and 2 listed properties modern float window glass should be replaced with a suitable ‘restoration glass’ such as a full antique plain sheet.  This is also often chosen for the sensitive restoration of clock face glass, and antique picture frames and furniture.

At Sunrise Stained Glass we stock French flashed glasses by St Just; German pot metal antique by Lamberts; the whole range of coloured antique glass by Tatra; and a large stock of plain and reamy antique restoration glass.

For more information on this type of glass and hand-spun coloured roundels and bullions, please contact us for more details or a quotation.

Tel +44 (0)23 9275 0512

Or please browse the Sunrise Stained Glass studio’s galleries of recent work to see how antique glass has been made into beautiful stained glass church windows and used for sensitive stained glass restoration.

Antique Stained Glass

How this hand-made glass is produced and used.