Tips for Determining the Age of a Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Window Age Oftentimes people inherit stained glass windows since they buy an older house with them already in it, or, perhaps, they work at a church where the windows have been there “forever.”

What are some tips for determining the age of a particular stained glass window?

Historical Research

Thankfully, with a little sleuthing, you can find historical documents that can tell you more information about your windows. For instance, your local church or library might hold the key to the information you seek in the form of old paperwork that’s actually on paper, or, maybe, on microfilm/microfiche, or even digitized thanks to modern computer systems.

Design Styles

When researching the age of a window, you should be armed with some basic info: what’s the window’s style and design? What’s the type of glass used in making the window? And what’s the type of leading and beveling used in its construction? This information might be in public records… and maybe even someone who knew the house/church “long ago” might remember who made the windows, where they came from, and around what year they were made/installed.

Era Tells

With stained glass windows, there have been different eras when certain things were en vogue. Take, for instance, “Art Nouveau.” This style features long, curving lines. It was popular around the late 1890s through 1910. Meanwhile, “Art Deco,” featuring geometric designs (such as triangles), would probably date the window to sometime in the late 1920s or 1930s.

Glass Type

As for the type of glass used, if it’s opalescent (where more than one color is present), then it was likely made after 1880. If it’s amber or green low-grade glass, known as “slag,” then it was probably made in the early 1900s.

Miscellaneous Hints

How about the leading and beveling? Windows with beveled accents were likely made after 1875.

You can do research online or at your local library to discover more hints about what styles, glass, and leading/beveling were popular in certain eras.

Meanwhile, if you can locate repair records, and/or identify the studio/craftsperson who did work on the windows in the past, they might give you some answers. Also check to see when a building’s construction began– it’s likely the windows were made around that same time. If possible, check with the local historical society in town– they might have pictures, newspaper clippings, and diary reports of when the windows were made/installed.

If you’re in need of stained glass repair, restoration or creation or installation services, then contact the experts at Cumberland Stained Glass today.