The history of glazing windows and doors has evolved significantly over the many hundreds of years that they have been used, by that we refer to the method of securing the glass in place.
In time gone by some glass was secured with small pins which were nailed into the timber frames and then the rebate was covered with a linseed oiled putty, which over the years hardened off to form the secure glazed window. As time went by, it was common to see windows with a base layer of putty placed on either side of the glass pane and the introduction of a slim timber glazing bead which was pinned to the timber frame to secure the glass. This meant that the putty would then set faster as there was less volume of material used and the linseed oil could seep into the timber faster to cure.
The original glazing method when dealing with direct glazing into a stone or mullioned window openings would involve a cement-based sealer being introduced to secure the glass, however the size of the glass would be quite small, as the glass was spun by hand while still molten to create this disc of glass, it finished as a circle and therefore was only able to make certain size of glass squares that could be retrieved from this method of glass production. Hence the Georgian window style was developed. The cheapest piece of glass was the waste centre section of the spun glass, which was what we know as the Georgian Bulls Eye. This was used by the common folk to glaze their small windows, whilst the gentry used the remaining flat panes of glass. As time went by the introduction of lead protection was being used to surround the outer edge of the glass with a “U” shaped profile, along with a “H” shaped profile to join other squares of glass together to make wider and taller panes of leaded glass. It was common for the leaded lights to have a form of cement putty inserted into the lead profiles to help seal the individual panes and keep the drafts and rain out. The stability of these windowpanes was further strengthened by the glazier using a small blowlamp to melt an amount of lead onto each of the joints to weld the “U” and “H” profiles together.
It followed that in circumstances like church windows, there were trained experts who excelled in stained glass production, and we see many examples still in existence around the world of those windows which are so detailed and so big to amaze us with their beauty.
In order to stabilise the glass in larger windows, the glaziers built into the stonework some steel rods, to act as an anchor for a copper wire which was soldered to the lead structure and then wrapped around the steel rod to secure the leaded light in place. Fortunately for us there are still a group of extremely professional leaded light glaziers throughout the world, who excel in this profession and maintain the worlds many stain glass windows, as well as producing more modern, up to date designs too.
Over the years, their work has also moved toward conservation of these old leaded light windows, in both domestic and commercial properties, by the invention of encapsulation of the leaded light within a double-glazed unit. Where the leaded light is cut and trimmed to size and then sealed between two pieces of glass and sealed to all four edges to hermetically seal it all together, whilst still maintain its character within the new window frames, which could be constructed from either timber, aluminium, or uPVC.
You can read our recent blog post on: Stained Glass Encapsulated Windows With Bespoke Leading Installed In Quarmby for an example of the results that can be achieved with encapsulation of the leaded light within a double-glazed unit.
With the more recent evolution of dry glazing over the last 40 years, using a dry bead to secure the glass, has moved the industry forward to enable the insertion of the final glazing into the windows and doors to be much quicker than in the past. Glazing has evolved with the use of glazing gaskets, which are usually made from rubber, and inserted between the glass and the window/door frame profile, or as is the case with most modern uPVC profiles have been inserted into or adhered to the Upvc profiles as they are extruded during the bar length production process.
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