Broken Antique Window Glass?

Learn How to Replace It With Historically Accurate Restoration Glass®

thanks to Renee Rosiak & Bendheim for this submission

Owners of historic homes and buildings take great pride in their antique window glass. With its occasional wave, bubble, and characteristic imperfections, it testifies to the history of an old structure or a piece of furniture, exuding the charm and character of by-gone days.

The making of window glass began in the 7th century with the development of mouthblown Crown glass. The 11th century saw the invention of the Cylinder glass method of producing mouth-blown antique window glass, first developed in Germany. Today, Cylinder and Crown glass are two types of authentic, mouthblown antique window glass found in fine American homes and buildings built from the 17th to early 20th centuries.

When old window glass is broken or damaged, people often go to great lengths to find a perfect match in order to preserve the historical integrity of a home or building. Finding the right glass can pose a significant challenge, considering the relatively wide-spread production of antique window glass ended after the invention of the first mechanical method for “drawing” glass, to be later followed by today’s ubiquitous “float” glass.

Window glass salvaged from another old building can be one replacement option. However, it can often be challenging to remove it from its old frame, cut it to the required size, and clean it.

An excellent alternative is to purchase cut-to-size “new antique” window glass made today utilizing the same techniques and tools used to make mouth-blown glass centuries ago. Authentic Restoration Glass®, produced at Germany’s Glashütte Lamberts, is crafted by skilled glass masters. The factory has preserved the mouthblown production methods through generations, guaranteeing the historic accuracy of this glass. As a testament to its authenticity, Restoration Glass is found in our country’s most prestigious restorations, including the White House, George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

view through regular glass window with no restoration

view through regular glass window with no restoration


view through Light Restoration Glass® window
view through Light Restoration Glass® window


view through Full Restoration Glass® window
view through Full Restoration Glass® window

To match precisely the original structure’s time period or the desired glass appearance, homeowners can select one of two varieties of Restoration Glass – “Full” or “Light.”

Full Restoration Glass is more distorting and accurately represents antique window glass made in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its distinct, somewhat “wavy” appearance makes it an excellent choice for colonial-style windows, antique and reproduction furniture.

Light Restoration Glass is less distorting and is an excellent match for glass found in structures built in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its slight distortion is more pronounced when viewed from a distance, in reflected light, and over a large area, making it ideal for use in windows and doors.

If uncertain about the appropriate amount of distortion, homeowners can request samples from Bendheim or send a piece of the original glass to the company to determine the best possible match.

“New antique” window glass offers additional advantages to homeowners by blending historically accurate aesthetics with modern capabilities and standards. Today, Restoration Glass can be laminated with a special resin interlayer to provide an impact-resistant safety glass, which will remain in place if broken, as well as provide enhanced sound control. Current building codes require safety glass to be installed in doors and sidelites, among others.

To restore a damaged old window and replace its broken glass, homeowners can hire a glass installation professional or do it themselves. Those with the skill to complete the installation on their own will benefit from the following tools: protective gloves and goggles,  heat gun, putty knife, glass cutter, framer’s point gun, pliers, primer or shellac, glazier’s points, Calcium Carbonate (“whiting”), paint brush, and paint.

The steps below and an instructional video (featuring the restoration of Martha Stewart’s 1805 farmhouse window) will demonstrate how to replace broken antique window glass.

  • Safety first. Put your protective gear on.
  • Remove the window sash and place it on a table or other flat surface.
  • With a heat gun, warm and soften the old putty so that it can be easily removed. Be careful not to burn the wooden sash.
  • Remove the old putty with a putty knife, taking care not to damage the frame.
  • Cleaning out the putty will expose the old glazier’s points. Pry the glazier’s points up.
  • Run the glass cutter diagonally over the glass pane twice creating an X.
  • Gently tap the glass from underneath to break it into pieces that can be easily removed.
  • Remove the old glazier’s points with pliers.
  • Clean and scrape out the remainder of the old putty from the cleared glass channel.
  • After ensuring the window surface is dry, paint the channel with a primer or shellac. Note that regular primer dries in approximately two hours; shellac dries in approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • After the primer or shellac is dry, place new putty inside the channel.
  • Gently press a new glass piece into the opening. Squeeze the putty down by carefully applying even pressure on all four sides of the glass, ensuring a snug fit.
  • Use a framer’s point gun or a putty knife to install one or more glazier’s points in each of the four sides of the opening. The glazier’s points will secure the glass in place.
  • When using the putty knife, gently rock the glazier’s points back and forth until they are properly seated in place.
  • Press more putty around the edges of the glass panel.
  • Using the putty knife, flatten the putty to ensure a snug fit.
  • Place the putty knife at a slight angle in one corner of the glass and run the knife along the side to remove extra putty. Repeat on all four sides.
  • Take a small amount of “whiting” and spread it on the glass. Use a soft brush to rub the whiting on the glass and putty to remove excess oils, then gently clean it off.
  • Wait approximately two weeks for the putty to dry before re-painting the window.

Good luck with your restoration project! Please view the instructional video at for additional tips and information.

glass subway tile from Anchor Bay

Arizona's Anchor Bay Tile, one of the largest online tile vendors, is now selling glass subway tile in a variety of colors.

“We are proud to add this new tile collection to our already large selection of ceramic, glass, wood and metal tile,” said Steve Khan, founder and president of “These tiles are available in a 3” x 6” size and come in beautiful colors that offer numerous unique design possibilities for any interior designer, architect or do-it-yourself homeowner who wants to add a classic subway tile design to any room.”
Khan also pointed out that glass subway tile is becoming more popular with his customers because of the timeless beauty it brings to any project. “Glass subway tile is a perfect choice for classic, modern and contemporary decorating styles and works well in areas such as in the kitchen as a backsplash, in the shower as a modern upgrade or as a subtle colorful complement to a tub surround or bathroom vanity backsplash,” Khan said. He added that his commercial customers find that glass subway tile works well for restaurants and hospitality projects.

stuff I like: glass shades from Berkeley's Ohmega Too


Ohmega Too - near the similarly-named Omega Salvage on San Pablo Avenue near the Berkeley / Oakland border - is a treasure-trove of houseparts. Doors, medicine cabinets, a constantly-changing stock of restored antique bath fixtures and plenty of new hardware, they've got it all. But what they're really known for is lighting. The sheer immensity of their collection of shades at almost any size you can imagine will be a delight to any owner of an historic home; I dare you to go and not buy something.

Jay Curtis: "ArtGlass & Metal" in the Arts & Crafts tradition

Jaycurtisglassclose Jay Curtis is a craftsman specializing in etched glass and metal, and his techniques include "water-jet cutting, hand painting, airbrushing, leading, beveling and glue-chipping." His work ranges from the whimsical to the elegant, and much of it is very strongly influenced by the floral designs of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

One recent line of products includes etched "special occasion" bowls, available for sale through the website.

Photos of Jay's more Arts & Crafts-influenced work are up in our art glass album on Flickr.

Architectural Salvage VI

Given the seemingly endless popularity of the DIY movement, awareness of green practices and recycling as parts of the design/build process and the high cost of new materials, salvage businesses continue to thrive:

and in the UK, where architectural salvage is a way of life:

  • Cheshire Demolition "offers one of the biggest salvage and reclamation yards in the North West. They offer everything from reclaimed doors to fireplaces."
  • The Salvage Doctor specializes in the "reclamation and restoration of cast iron architectural salvage and antiques," and carries an extensive range of radiators (cast iron, school- / hospital- /column- style, etc.), fireplaces & surrounds, woodburning stoves, rainwater systems (guttering, downpipes & fittings), gates and railings. They are located in Horsham, West Sussex.
  • In Situ trade out of their Manchester ex-pub warehouse and studio. They keep a large stock of the usual - with attention to fancy pavers, lighting, glass, flooring, entryways and doors / door furniture.
  • Cox's Architectural Salvage has operated their 12,500 sq ft covered warehouse in Moreton-in-Marsh since 1992. They are one of the largest Victorian ironmongers in Britain, and also refinish and sell their own line of nickel plate and brass hardware.
  • Toby's Architectural Antiques has shops in Exeter and Newton Abbot. They carry a wide range of exterior detail - gates, ironmongery, roofing, slate, stone, water features - as well as kitchen materials, doors, light fixtures etc.
  • Park Royal Salvage at the Lower Place Wharf in London sells everything from building materials, doors, windows and reclaimed plumbing to doors, windows, fireplaces and other old house parts.
  • Robert Mills Architectural Antiques are one of the more specialized shops of their kind, with an especially large stock of architectural woodwork, mainly panels, columns, balustrades, mouldings and friezes, window frames, etc.

Preservation Brief 33: Historic Stained Glass

I find that all of the National Park Service's Preservation Briefs are interesting, and several have been especially useful in my own home repair projects; take, for instance, brief #33, which I had reason to consult this past month. It's a general primer on historic stained glass, written specifically for those of us with stained glass windows or panels in our old homes and the need to either maintain or repair them. Neal Vogel & Rolf Achilles' essay on historic stained glass windows is full of extensive information on history, dating, identifying and documenting, composition (even going a bit into chemistry and other materials sciences issues), ways to halt deterioration, tips on photographing stained glass and various repair techniques. If you have stained glass in your home, you need to read this. And, like all the other briefs, it's full of useful technical information but not written in an overly-technical style; it's accessible, readable and (as always) interesting.

Greene & Greene lantern pulled due to provenance concern

Our friend Ted Wells of Living Simple passed this note on to us a few weeks ago. This particular item was taken from the White Sisters' (Martha, Violet and Jane) House at 370 Arroyo Terrace [map / photo / Zillow] in Pasadena, a very attractive Greene & Greene home from 1903; Larry Wilson writes a bit more about this in today's paper, and argues for an inventory of Greene objects in private hands, as the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust has attempted and had good success with.

Of course, this isn't the first time that the provenance or sale of a Greene & Greene lantern has stirred up controversy...

PASADENA - A porch lantern that experts believe was bought and illegally removed from a Greene and Greene house on Arroyo Terrace at a garage sale has been withdrawn from a Sotheby's auction set for Friday in New York City.

The lantern, with an auction estimate of $30,000 to $50,000, was taken out of the American Renaissance sale Tuesday on the advice of Sotheby's lawyers "pending further research," spokeswoman Lauren Gioia said.

The decision came in response to a letter sent to Sotheby's by the Pasadena city attorney's office on Dec. 5; it asks that the lantern "be returned immediately" to Pasadena since the sale of any interior or exterior fixture removed from a Greene brothers' house is forbidden by a city law enacted in 1986.

Reached by telephone, Naomi Ritz said she put the lantern, listed as "from the Estate of the Ritz Brothers," up for auction, but declined to give any details about its acquisition.

The lantern is believed to have once hung on the porch at 370 Arroyo Terrace, known as the White Sisters' House. The 1903 Craftsman-style home was built by Charles Greene for his sisters-in-law, Martha, Violet and Jane, next door to his own 1901 house at 368 Arroyo.

The lantern's journey to New York started at a garage sale at 370 Arroyo Terrace, according to the city attorney's office. The private, word-of-mouth sale was held earlier this year when the home's long-time owner, Ann Duffy, was moving out.

The Duffy Trust sold the house for $1.4 million to Timothy J. Toohey and David Liu in May; it is undergoing restoration. Toohey, 57, bought the Charles Greene house next door in September 2005 for $2.475 million.

Local preservationists first got wind of the lantern's impending sale when contacted by Ted Wells of Guardian Stewardship, the Greene and Greene watchdog group, and when the buyers began toting it around town for expert opinions on its authenticity.

Backed by an anonymous private collector, Guardian Stewardship bought all but a few of the 49 items put under the hammer by former Gamble House curator Randell Makinson at Sotheby's in December 2004. The collection raised almost $2.9 million - about three times the estimated value. Some of it is on show at the Huntington Library and the Long Beach Museum of Art.

Wells said a dealer in Chicago, who knew the group had bought the Makinson collection, had offered to sell the lantern.

"I questioned if it was something that could be legally sold, and if there were ethical issues, we would not be interested," Wells said. "The dealer in Chicago agreed ... but I see it reached Sotheby's."

It's believed the lantern was stored for years in a box in the White Sisters' House basement, but it's almost certainly original to the house, said Ted Bosley, curator of the Gamble House and a Greene and Greene expert.

"It's a very lovely piece, an early Greene and Greene lantern," Bosley said. The buyers, he said, showed him photographs of the lamp, described in the Sotheby's catalogue as zinc-plated steel and opalescent glass with lead strips, circa 1903.

"They thought it might be important, and I confirmed it to the best of my knowledge," Bosley said. "I suggested they take it back to the house and make sure it was protected. They didn't follow my advice."
Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage, said Ritz's husband Clyde Munsell - whom Ritz identified as her attorney to this newspaper - offered the lantern to the preservation group.

"Based on a phone conversation, I thought he was willing to donate it, get a tax deduction and we would return it to the house," Mossman said. "He said, `We're not donating, we'll sell it to you.' But we don't have these resources."

Mossman said that everywhere the sellers went they were advised to return the lantern to the house, and that the house's owners would reimburse them.

Allan-Dymarz Studios

Edmonton craftspeople Curtis Allan, a woodworker, and Ania Dymarz, an artist working with leather and glass, have come together to build some very unique and attractive pieces, with plenty of flair and a noticeable basis in the Arts & Crafts movement. Curtis and Ania regularly display and sell their work at Edmonton and other local crafts fairs and events.

George Maher Window Sells for $120,000

Unknown Our friend Tamera Herrod forwards the following press release about a striking stained-glass Chicago-school window that just sold for a record price at a recent Treadway-Toomey auction. A much higher-resolution version of the photograph is available in our Flickr art glass album.

Historic Chicago Art Glass Window by George W. Maher, Louis J. Millet Sells for Record $120,000 at Treadway-Toomey Galleries' Auction

A relic of Chicago's Prairie School art glass circa 1901, the thistle window was designed for the James A. Patten house and implemented in vermilion, olive, opalescent and gold-foiled glass.

OAK PARK, Ill. -- A Prairie School art glass window with an elaborate thistle design by architect George W. Maher fetched a record $120,000 at Treadway-Toomey Galleries' 20th Century Art & Design Auction on May 7. Executed by stained glass master Louis J. Millet circa 1901, the triptych window was reclaimed from the James A. Patten house in Evanston, Ill. prior to its demolition in 1938. It had a presale estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.

"It's a spectacular window," said Rolf Achilles, curator of Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows in Chicago. "Maher was a highly regarded Midwestern architect who was not nationally known. He should have been. He was a very important regionalist." (read on below)

Continue reading "George Maher Window Sells for $120,000" »

Gamble House Lantern - sold!

0172_1_lg This was posted a week ago, but I'm bumping it up to the top of the page now due to an important correction.

This lantern was created as a replacement for a stolen G & G lamp, originally made for the Gamble House; once the original was recovered, this copy was auctioned off to raise funds for the Gamble House's upkeep and education programs was sold off - see below. It sold at auction last weekend  for $2,500, a bit lower than the expected $3,000 - $4,000. There are several excellent images on the ebay auction page.

reader John Hamm of Hamm Glass Studios writes in to give us the straight dope on this:

I do not know where you received the infromation stating that the Gamble House profited in any way from the sale of this lantern but it is completly false. The Gamble House had absolutely nothing to do with the sale of this piece, and in no way made any money from its sale. The "gentleman" that located the original that was stolen from the house many years ago was given the reproduction as a thank you, at a public ceremony no less, for allowing the Gamble House to purchase from him the original lantern that he located and purchased on E-bay. He then in turn put the repro. up for auction and profitted soley from its sale - an action that I personally find repugnant. You may verify this by calling the Gamble House and speaking with the director, Ted Bosley. It would have been a kind gesture if the profit from the sale had been directed back to the Gamble House, but no one there knew about the sale until the auction was about to take place.

So basically the owner profited twice: he bought stolen property (something that people are often punished for!), which was then bought back from him at the Gamble House's expense; and then he sold off the lantern that was given to him and profited from that as well. Certainly within his rights, as the radical capitalist portion of the antique-selling trade have reminded us on this very forum within the last few weeks (when I questioned the ethics of selling pottery ebay for a huge markup without telling the buyer they could buy it for less from the potter directly) - but not very ethical behavior! Thanks to John Hamm for setting us straight on this.

Wayne Cain Architectural Art Glass

2Wayne Cain lives and works in Bremo Bluff, Virginia, and has spent the last 30 years exploring the use of glass in (and as) architecture. He uses a wide variety of techniques (beveling, staining, carving, silvering, fusing, painting and lampworking) to produce glass for all sorts of clients. His historical design gallery showcases beveled & stained transoms, landing windows, domes and entryways, and his contemporary work - showcasing various thicknesses, textures and shapes of glass - shows off his virtuosity. He's also produced a number of religious windows, and is comfortable working on public windows, designed and produced on time and in accordance with building codes.

Object Fetish: Ebay, April 2005


Lots of good stuff on Ebay this week - tomorrow I'll go through A&C items on various Craigslist regional sites, but today I've got a few deals from ebay to share.

Mickey Abbey Custom Glassworks

Mickeyabbeyglass1I ran into this fellow while exploring a local flea market here in Sacramento. He had a few windows on display from the back of his truck, and has been building custom glass and restoring older work  - mostly historical designs for restoration projects - for over 20 years. He does a lot of Victorian beveled glass as well as traditional Craftsman patterns (Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Prairie grids, Charles Rennie Mackintosh rosettes, etc.); I am going to hire him to replace a pane in our stained-glass built-in doors, broken by a burglar when our house was broken into back in September. Mickey Abbey Custom Glassworks, 1166 34th Ave., Sacramento CA 95822: 916.955.7026.


Pete Maloney in Norcross GA points us to his site, which in addition to links to the dealers' various auctions also includes a collaborative antique shop that brings together selected items from a number of different dealers. Selections from Stuart Solomon's wonderful shop in Northhampton MA are featured, as are pottery and metalwork items from Jack Pap; Barbara Gerr, a dealer in Roseville pottery out of Absecon NJ is also part of the group, as are Pearce Fox / Fox Mission in Philadelphia and webmaster Pete Maloney himself, who specializes in all sorts of Arts & Crafts ceramics.

Sotheby's: Greene & Greene

GreenelightRich Muller notes that "many of the pieces that have been in the Huntington's Scott gallery are now up for auction (through Sotheby's). There are a lot of high-resolution images that I've never seen anywhere else. Get your checkbooks out, or at least download some of these images!  There is also information on each lot." Catalogs are US$43; the least expensive item up for auction is significantly more expensive.

Of special note, at least to those interested in the graphic arts: some of the most expensive cuts (of such a small size, at least) ever.

Arthur Stern Studios

Arthur Stern opened his architectural and art glass studio in Oakland in 1976, after studying architecture and environmental design at the University of Illinois and CCAC in Oakland. After a few years of teaching at CCAC, he relocated his studio to an 8500 square-foot space in Benicia, about 40 minutes north of Oakland, just over the Carquinez Straits from the East Bay, and has been producing a wide range of really exceptional work there since 1994. His work is squarely in the Prairie tradition, and Stern specializes in the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright glass. Please take a look at the galleries at his site, including the work for sale (especially the amazing screens and sculptural pieces - he also has some brilliantly-colored oil pastels and very textural mixed-media pieces using similar geometric forms).

One particular highlight of Stern's career - well-illustrated on his site - is the Pearson Residence in Mill Valley, California, recently featured on Home & Garden Television.

San Francisco open studios

Vince-Meyer-TablesMany communities throughout the Bay Area hold an "open studio" weekend (or week, or, in the case of this month-long 29th annual event in San Francisco, month!), where a large number of artists - sometimes hundreds - open their workspaces to visitors. This is a great way to discover new artists and designers, and to find wonderful work at low prices. This year's event in San Francisco will take place from 11 am to 6 pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of October at more than 800 studios across the city; each weekend a new neighborhood of studios will open its doors to visitors, culminating with the huge number of open studios at the now-decommissioned Hunters' Point Naval Shipyard.

pictured: Vince Meyer's Japanese-influenced tables 21st-Century Arts & Crafts

cherylwilliamsBuilding on the Arts & Craft movement of an earlier time, is a treasure trove of current artists working in metalwork, ceramics, printmaking, painting, fiber, glass, wood, lighting, furniture and tableware.

The Arts & Crafts masters of yesteryear would have enthusiastically approved of The Guild's Philosophy: In a nutshell, we believe that when you live with art that you love, and it's made by a gifted artist with skill and care, it adds something rich and sweet to your life, every day.

Continue reading " 21st-Century Arts & Crafts" »

Treadway & Toomey auctions

metal-vaseAuctions have come a long way in the last few years. Treadway & Toomey, one of the largest of the antiques auction houses to specialize in American Arts & Crafts, has one of their largest auctions of the year coming up on September 12 at their gallery in Oak Park. The online portion of the auction is presented using technology from and will occur live on Ebay. Over 1000 lots of furniture, artwork and other decorative items will be sold, and you can preview the lots online. As at any Treadway & Toomey auction, there are some really gorgeous items up for sale.