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130 year old glass used in window restoration

August 23, 2011

Reclaimed cylinder glass used in the 2 top casements

Last year while working in Highgate, North London I spotted a workman holding two glazed sashes and walking towards a skip. I approached the chap and noticed the sashes contained very old “cylinder glass”.

Containing my excitement as best I could, the glass is around £230/sqm, I asked him if I could have the sashes he was about to skip. He happily handed them over with a slightly confused expression on his face.

Using the old cylinder glass in the new window

For those who don’t know, cylinder glass is the glass with the bubbles and seeds and random distortion that is apparent when viewing the window from the outside. This “movement” of the glass is in marked contrast to modern “float glass”, which is perfectly flat and completely out-of-place in a period house. In fact the use of “float glass” makes the window look completely lifeless!

The window's appearance prior to restoration

I wanted to use this old glass in the restoration of a window at the back of my house. The hinged casement window was crudely altered in the 1970s and needed to be brought back to its former glory. Since I spend a good part of my day looking out of this window (just kidding), only the best quality work would suffice. Fortunately, my neighbour has the original window style which allowed a perfect copy to be made. The timber used was Idigbo (Terminalia Ivorensis) and will be finished with Holkham Linseed Oil paint.

Anyway, without boring you with too much detail, I hope you agree that after four days standing on a ladder 5m off the ground, the result is quite satisfying.

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