Stained glass windows add an element of beauty and charm to a building that can’t be replaced by any type of alternative. They control light, add color and often times tell a story. The ancient origin of these translucent pieces of art can be traced to the Egyptians thanks to their colored glass beads.
The Egyptians were most likely the first civilization to discover glass and furthermore dye it and use for beauty in addition to function. Some of the first utilized stained glass windows however, were used in homes by the Romans and palaces and mosques in the Middle East shortly after. One of the oldest windows of this kind was made around 686 AD. It displayed the head of Christ and was discovered at the Lorsch Abbey in Germany.
Throughout the centuries, artisans mixed sand and potash with metallic oxide powders at nearly 3000 degrees. Melded together, this created different colors of a pliable material that could be flattened and when cooled, was almost identical to glass. Small and large pieces of all varieties of colors were produced and with iron soldered together to create scenery, pictures and art in the windows of buildings.
Gothic cathedrals in the medieval times became known for their stained glass windows. This intriguing display of color stayed popular throughout the renaissance as well. In the 17th century, this style of window lost its popularity and became a rare and expensive trade for buyers and sellers. However, interest in stained glass was revived in the 1800’s in both Europe and America. Artists recreated the timeless craft and it once again became a part of architecture and design.
Stained glass windows can be designed to fit any building and match any décor. Where a plain, clear window simply allows for a natural light, a stained glass window can add new depth and art to any room. Given the beauty and charm of stained glass, it’s no surprise homeowners from coast to coast are increasingly recognizing their worth and restoring them in their early 20th century homes.