Cathedral glass is a type of stained glass that has been used in churches and cathedrals for centuries. It was first introduced to Europe sometime in the 12th century by Islamic artisans, who were working in the tradition of the Eastern Romans (Byzantines) . Although it has been around since the middle ages, Cathedral glass did not become popular until the Gothic Revival period in England during the 19th century.
History of Cathedral Glass
The history of cathedral glass begins with Islamic production of colored and decorative glass pieces. The Europeans did not have techniques or materials capable of producing colored and patterned glass, and so skilled craftsmen from places such as Syria and Egypt were hired to come to Europe and teach the art of glass-making.
How is it Made?
Cathedral glass is made by first heating sand, feldspar, potash, and lime together in a furnace at very high temperatures. The mixture is then allowed to cool down quickly, forming what is called a pot melt. The molten glass from this pot melt is then placed onto an iron table which has been covered in charcoal. Using a variety of metal tools the glassmaker shapes the glass into whatever he/she wants to be made – whether that be a window or a smaller object such as a plate or cup . After being shaped into its final form, stained glass goes through another process consisting of cutting , grinding , polishing , and soldering .
Using Cathedral Glass for Residential Windows
Many people who want a traditional looking home decor will use cathedral glass in their windows instead of regular window panes. Cathedral glass is placed inside a wooden frame and hung onto the wall much like a painting or other hanging decoration.
Why is it so Expensive?
Depending on what you are using the cathedral glass for, it can be expensive to buy pieces from an antique shop or retailer. In most cases, this type of glass is custom made as opposed to being massed produced, as was done with simpler types of window panes. This means that there will generally be higher prices associated with buying this sort of glass than other types, because more time and effort have been put into producing it.
However, if you do need to purchase stained glass, you can keep costs low by shopping around and pick up a bargain by purchasing second hand.