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IS THIS REAL GLASS?
by Ronda Young

From time to time we get this question about our stained glass items and we want to assure you that all of our Tiffany styled lamps are indeed made of real fine quality art glass. Many of the types of glass are hand blown here in the US.

Here is some additional information you may find useful about stained glass lamps and determining when you see them in person as to whether or not it is real glass:

The technique of making lamp shades and glass panels with the small pieces of glass in intricate curved shapes was developed by L.C. Tiffany during the early 1900's. Each piece of glass is cut to fit the pattern. It is then wrapped in a thin piece of paper that is covered in copper foil on one side and is sticky on the other. The wrapped piece of glass is attached to the form. This step is repeated until all of the glass pieces are cut and then soldered into place.

Because of this tight wrapping of the glass, there is no room for the glass to resonate and have the glass sound and feel like you expect to get when tapping on the surface. Normally, glass like in windows and in glassware is free to resonate with vibrations caused from tapping on it, but in the case of the stained glass copper foil technique, this is lost and a dull thump is often all we hear.

In addition, the lamps are oiled usually with lemon oil to clean off the chemical residues from manufacturing and then put in storage until sold/shipped, so sometimes the glass will still have an oily feeling adding to the sensation that it may not be real glass.

The way you can tell that a lamp shade is real glass is by the depth of color, especially when lit and also by the weight of the shade. Plastic "glass" is quite light and won't have the brilliance of color that our true stained glass has.

The techniques used for making our glass shades greatly adds to their strength, but even so, they still are glass, and care must be taken when handling them like with all glass products. If a shade gets dropped it may crack, and runners may form down the glass. These are heirloom quality lamps, and with minimal care you should not have any problems, and will be able to pass the lamp on from generation to generation.

(c) Copyright 2007 by YoungWorks

 

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