Obscured Window Glass: Textured 'Figured Rolled Glass' Pattern Guide [1890-2020]
As the name implies, Figured Rolled Glass is an architectural glass having a figured or patterned surface impressed by rollers during the process of manufacture. The various patterns in which this glass has been manufactured are documented in this article and they range from simple finishes to elaborate designs, giving a variety of effects. Today this glass is almost universally used where both daylight and privacy are required but in the past, these glasses added texture and colour to leaded light windows. The textured surface obscures the vision without impairing the transmission of daylight.
Approximately 200 rolled window glass designs are documented below.
This page is a supplement to our main article: History Of Architectural Glass For Windows. That main article looks at all of the other decorative window glasses as well as the evolution of clear flat window glass.
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Sharing this information
We do not sell old glass, we undertook this research ‘for the public record’ and to ensure the history of these interesting glasses was open to anybody with an interest. Please include a link to this article if sharing it or posting elsewhere, either in part or full; It really did take us a lot of work to get this far and it is still regularly being updated or amended as new information is unearthed.
Any further information or glass samples you might have, that help to complete the collection, are most welcome; please email Simon.
Table of Contents
How to identify old obscured window glass patterns and textures: British, American and Australian decorative, frosted & fancy rolled glass gallery.
Victorian glass makers introduced figured rolled window glass, also known as ‘patent rolled figured’ glass, frosted glass, fancy glass, textured glass, art glass or obscured glass. It is made by embossing textures into the surface of the hot glass sheets.
Many heritage buildings across the globe still contain some fine examples of these interesting, durable and varied glass patterns. Using old archives, along with our team’s experience and trade contacts, this page is our attempt to record all of those early textured glass designs. The original scope of this article was to document Victorian and Edwardian glass textures but has since grown to also include glass patterns right up to modern times.
Obscured Glass “has one side covered with an opaque film formed either by grinding the surface or by melting powdered glass upon it. The names for this glass seem to be used indiscriminately without reference.” 1879
The Development of Textured Window Glass
Hartleys Patent: Table Rolled Glass
James Hartley was granted a patent in 1838 for producing glass made by casting the hot glass ‘metal’ onto an engraved surface and then rolling it from above. Hartley’s glassworks later became famous for ‘Hartley’s Patent Plate’, a rolled and textured roofing glass, but Hartley’s were also producing coloured rolled glass know as ‘Cathedral Glass’ for creating stained glass windows.
Cathedral Glass was originally a smooth rolled glass before ‘Rough’, ‘Ribbed’ and ‘Diamond’ embossed patterns were introduced. Later the term became common usage for describing any kind of rolled glass, including ‘figured glass’ sheets. Cathedral Glass is covered in the Victorian Window Glass Guide
The Mason and Conqueror Patent for rolled glass
“This method of manufacture, as improved by the proprietors of the patent, is conducted in the following manner”, “The molten glass is poured on an inclined iron plate, and passes between two iron rolls, which revolve uniformly in opposite directions. The sheet of glass thus formed passes down a second inclined plate, and is then transferred to the kiln and piled in the usual way. Or the sheet may be transferred to the annealing kiln by means of a travelling carriage or table, which consists of an iron frame aid with stones, or other non-conducting material, so as to present an even upper surface. The size of this table is regulated by the width and length of the sheets of glass which it is desired to make. The table travels on wheels or rollers under the lower roll of the rolling machine, and by means of suitable gearing is carried forward by the motion of the machine at the same pace, or slightly faster than, the sheet of glass passing down the second inclined plate”
Chance's Patent Figured Glass
George and Edward Chance, the famous Chance Brothers of Smethwick, entered the rolled glass market in 1852 when they took a license to use James Hartley’s table rolled glass patent. Later Chance Bros. took out a further license for the new ‘Mason and Conqueror’ glass rolling machine, a machine that by 1890 they had developed into their own patented process with the addition of a second pair of rollers to imprint a pattern on the glass.
This double rolling process became the standard method for producing glass sheets with a textured surface, leaving the opposite face smooth enough for cutting. Designs ranged from simple obscured surfaces to elaborate, deeply imprinted, three-dimensional designs. These ‘fancy figured rolled’ or ‘patent rolled’ glass sheets as they became known were sold in white (clear), blue, amber, green and pink (wine) cathedral tints.
“Figured Rolled Glass, because of the effective and tasteful patterns, is used for beautification and to obtain pleasing and contrasting effects, particularly in the case of leadlight work. The variety of these effects can be further added to by Acid Obscuring (Satin Finish) or Sand blasting of the surface of the Figured Glass.”
During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the biggest consumers for many of these decorative glasses were the leadlight studios who were mass-producing leadlight panels on an industrial scale. Indeed many of the glass textures were produced with the lead lighters in mind rather than for sheet glazing. Other patterns were developed for skylights or glazed partitions but realistically any of these figured rolled designs could have been used as a windowpane.
Textured Float Glass
The Chance Brothers basic principle of embossing hot glass with a patterned roller continues to this day. The pattern is now imprinted by the lower roller leaving the smooth face upwards for cutting.
The lehr (not drawn to scale) is an insulated cooling tunnel in which the glass is carried by motorised rollers until it reaches room temperature and the cutting line. The annealing process is ensured by controlled cooling, allowing the stabilisation of the glass ribbon’s residual strains.
Prism Glass is an architectural glass which bends and projects light to illuminate areas far from windows, this is known as anidolic lighting.
Prism glass was mostly used in commercial and public buildings in the first quarter of the 20th century. Pavement lights also used prism glass to light rooms set below ground level. The basic principle still lives on to this day with scientifically designed patterns that focus light into our rooms. Following the adoption of electric lighting, prism glass was no longer a key marketing tool and was dropped from common usage.
Pressed glass quarries and slates as well as embossed glass tiles and pavement lights also featured ornate textured designs, but this article relates only to obscured glass that was produced in sheet sizes.
Heritage Window Restoration
Glazing Heritage Buildings pre 1890:
Traditional designs acid etched into the glass surface provide the most affordable, period glazing options for domestic restoration works on properties from this era. An adequate range of etched designs are still commercially produced. Restoration works on commercial period properties may require replica designs to be reproduced with brilliant-cutting or bespoke sand-blasted patterns, cut into a thick float glass sheet.
Glazing Heritage Buildings post 1890:
Whilst etched designs, lead-lights, brilliant cut patterns and figured rolled glasses are all appropriate for this era, the ‘status’ of the property must also be taken into consideration. For the first quarter of the 19th Century coloured and figured rolled glass might be considered appropriate for use in a Workman’s cottage, but for middle and upper-class homes a sizeable part of any construction budget would be allocated toward the most fashionable decorative glazing. Leaded lights were the most popular but etched glass was still being sold in large quantities.
Due to the expense of recreating lead lights an etched glass pattern will provide the most affordable period-correct glazing option for use in mid and upper-quality homes dating from the early 19th century. Pilkington Glass still produce the vintage figured rolled designs ‘Arctic’, Fluted and ‘Flemish’.
In many countries the current range of patterned glass is just a small fraction of what it once was. A glass resembling ‘cathedral glass’ (cath-lite for example) can still be found that provides a historically appropriate and affordable replacement glass. These modern ‘cathedral glasses’ follow the timeless lightly hammered, dimpled design format which is easy to clean as well as being suitable for safety glass processing.
Art Glass suppliers offer a wider range of replica patterns that may be used for restoration work. Whilst most art glass suppliers sell larger sheets they will seldom advertise anything larger than ‘hobby sheets’ on their websites, so be sure to call them. These modern reproduction patterns are similar to the originals but are less deeply embossed, making them less detailed but much easier to clean.
Modern building regulations apply safety standards for glass that is to be fitted into bathrooms, doors or used at a low level. Flemish glass can still be found in 4mm thickness and so can be toughened but most other art glass patterns are only 3mm thick. In order to make these thinner glasses comply with building standards, custom laminating is required where a plain float or coloured glass is bonded to the smooth side of the textured glass. Unsurprisingly this is an expensive option but worth considering in some circumstances.
Decorative Glazing in Double-Hung Sash Windows
Often the best solution for glazing traditional sliding sash windows, where privacy is required, is to use an obscured glass for the lower pane whilst leaving the upper pane glazed with clear window glass.
Textured British Glass: Figured Rolled Window Glazing
Coloured Glass Tints
Cathedral Tints are used to make coloured figured rolled glass, generally light tints of no positive colour. Greens and Amber were the most popular cathedral tints.
By the 1920s, textured glass was hitting its peak production levels but coloured glass versions were in decline. Small splashes of vividly coloured glass were still fashionable but used only sparingly and then set amongst mostly ‘white'(clear) textured glass in leaded light glazing panels.
Today, coloured figured glass is seldom produced but it may be approximated by laminating textured glass to a thin tinted glass pane.
1890s The Earliest Figured rolled patterns
Wavy ‘Venetian’ glass predates all of the other textured glasses by about a century.
Simple Figured Rolled Plate Glass
1890. This design is the earliest advertised glass we have found to be described as ‘Figured Rolled’. Copied from a glass merchants catalogue, where it was the only figured sheet on offer, set amongst a large selection of enamelled sheet designs. There is a good possibility that this was the first type of ‘figured glass sheet’ ever sold, a fleur-de-leys pattern was also produced; possibly produced by The Glasgow Plate Glass Co. using the table method? Notice the ribbed roller marks.
1894 Ornamental Rolled Glass Patterns
Real world examples from this range of antique textured glass can be found in the Victorian Glaziers Shop section lower down the page.
- ‘Lustex’ is named as patterned glass, but this name changed to become ‘Luster’ in all future brochures.
- ‘Shely’ is named as patterned glass, but this name changed to become ‘Shell’ in all future brochures.
Chance Brothers: Chance's Figured Rolled Glass Patterns
Chance’s figured rolled glass was famous for its deep and sharply defined patterns, easy cutting qualities, brilliant finish and attractive tints.
Chance Brothers produced over 30 Figured Rolled glass patterns supplied in white (clear) and four standard colours Pink; Yellow; Blue; and Green. 1/8 inch was the standard thickness but it was also available in 3/16 and 1/4 for deeply imprinted patterns.
The manufacture of rolled plate glass became of primary importance to Chance Brothers, along with the licensing royalties paid by companies like Pilkington and St Gobain. Chance Brothers were once the biggest name in Victorian sheet glass but by the start of the twentieth Century Chance Bros. and Pilkington Bros. equally shared a virtual duopoly in Britain; Pilkington’s eventually acquired the Chance firm, later producing some of Chance’s patterns under the Pilkington brand name.
Paul Nash (1889-1946) produced designs for Chances. Gordon Robert Yorke (1909) produced designs for Chance Bros. in 1934.
“Figured Rolled Glass is manufactured by us in a large variety of designs, some being of a delicate nature, whilst others are of a bolder type, affording ample scope for all varieties of tastes.” Chance Bros
CHANCE’S FLEMISH GLASS was made only in the glass works of Chance Bros. & Co., near Birmingham, ” a new and most attractive ornamental Window Glass, unsurpassed for character and brilliancy.” Flemish was available in both small and large patterns.
CHANCE’S MUFFLED GLASS was mostly used for fancy leaded light work. Its “peculiar and varying waviness of its design assuring a graceful and pleasing effect wherever it is employed”. It was also frequently used for windowpanes of modest sizes but it was a thinner 18 oz glass and so large windowpanes were not viable.
CHANCE’S CATHEDRAL GLASS was produced in three distinct kinds all about 1/16 in. thickness.
- Double Rolled Cathedral was their ‘standard cathedral glass’ and produced in hundreds of tints.
- Stippled Cathedral is more opaque. Restricted range of tints.
- Hammered Cathedral has slight indentations on one face. It is very translucent and widely used for both leaded lights and window glazing.
CHANCE’S CROWN GLASS, “For natural evenness of surface and brilliancy (characteristics entirely its own and which cannot fail to impress the most ordinary observer), it is without a rival”. “There is no need to expatiate upon the excellence of this article, and we can safely recommend it as a speciality by means of which, at a comparatively small cost, the most gratifying results can be obtained”. Sheets up to 15′ x 12′, 13 to 15 oz.
CHANCE’S GENUINE CROWN GLASS BULLIONS as the last British firm to produce spun crown glass Chance’s supplied genuine ‘bull’s eyes’ bullions. “We have supplied large numbers of them for fixing in panels and windows of various kinds where an old fashioned or grotesque appearance is desired.”
Chance Bros 1905 - FRG Figured Rolled Glass Advert
Chance Brothers Rolled Figured Plate Glass
Patterns I & J are currently unknown.
Pilkington Brothers: Patent Rolled Textured Glass
Pilkingtons of St Helens have been the biggest name in sheet glass for over one hundred years. They patented the process for producing rolled wire glass in 1898.
“Pilkington Texture Glass is translucent, transmitting diffused light while maintaining privacy. It offers a wide selection of alternatives, meeting both functional and aesthetic requirements and may be used for privacy in commercial, industrial and residential buildings. It may also be used for decorative purposes in applications such as doors, partitions and balustrades.A rolled patterned glass, one surface of which has a specific pattern or design impressed into the surface, Pilkington Texture Glass provides obscuration and decoration. “
“Pilkington Brothers, Limited, manufacturers of plate, bevelled plate, corrugated rolled, chequered rolled, and cathedral rolled, patent rolled and rough cast plate, patent wired rolled glass, patent rolled prismatic glass, figured rolled, enamelled, obscured, coloured and ornamental window glass of brilliant cut glass, bent glass and embossed glass; shades and miscellaneous articles for horticultural and dairy purposes, glass for photographic purposes”
Maltese, Cretan are unidentified patterns. A glass named Romanesque appears in the Mississippi range below which was probably produced by Pilkington.
1908 Franco-British Exhibition Awards: Grand Prize – Pilkington Bros. Ltd for their sheet and plate glass, rolled plate glass, wired glass, ornamental window glass and glass panels
Hindusthan-Pilkington Glass Works Ltd. Est 1954 Calcutta, India. Rolled figured glass production started in 1963
1901 Pilkington Brothers: Glass Merchant Catalogue
1901 – Victorian Flat Glass Designs registered in the 1890’s- Copied from British hardware catalogue, dated 1901
c.1908 – This old Pilkington sample box came up for an online auction. The photos are not great but still interesting & useful. There was no date listed for them but Japanese pattern, which is included in this collection, was being offered for sale in 1908.
“Pilkington’s Figured Rolled and Cathedral Glass is made in a great variety of artistic tints. Nineteen Figured Patterns are made in about one dozen of the most popular tints, including shades of Blue, Amber and Pink. The figured glass patterns are :- Arctic Large; Arctic Small; Muranese Small, Muranese Medium; Muranese Large; Pinhead Morocco; Cretan; Oceanic; Rose; Maltese; Japanese; Kaleidoscope; Rippled; Quilted; Persian; Shell; Arabesque
Small Hammered and Double Rolled Cathedral are made in about 100 different sades, including Green, Blue, Amber and Pink. Clear Cathedral, Waterwite, Rimpled, Plain Cathedral and Large Hammered Cathedral are made in the same tints as the patterns above, and can also be had in a number of other standard tints. Bullions are made to order in white and in many of the Cathedral tints for glazing in doors and leaded lights.”
1938 Pilkington / Chance Distributor
Taken from a British merchants catalogue dated 1938. Most of the glass patterns are by Pilkington Brothers who were by now the biggest glass company in Britain.
1939 product catalogue by Pilkington Bros, describing the range of Cathedral and Figured Rolled glass.
Flat glass pattern names: Amazon, Arctic, Arctic (small), Clear cathedral, Clouded cathedral, Double rolled cathedral, Hammered cathedral no. 1 (large), Hammered cathedral no. 2 (small), Hammered cathedral no. 3, Japanese, Kaleidoscope (large), Kaleidoscope, Majestic, Morocco (large), Morocco (small), Morocco (pinhead), Muranese no. 1 (large), Muranese no. 2 (medium), Muranese no. 3 (small), Plain cathedral, Rimpled cathedral, Rippled cathedral, Waterwrite cathedral.
1950s - 1960s Pilkington Samples
Circa 1970: Pilkington Textured Glass Samples
Pilkingtons Recent Textured Patterns
Recent 1994 Pilkington Textured Flat Glass Patterns: “Arctic“, Cotswold“, “Autumn“, “Deep Flemish“, “Chantilly“, “Driftwood“, “Everglade“, “Linkon“, “Flemish“, “Matrix“, “Florielle“, “Mayflower“, “Minster“, “Rough Cast“, “Pelerine“, “Stippolyte“, “Reeded“, “Sycamore“, “Taffeta“, “Warwick“.
Etched designs: “Brocade”, “Canterbury”, “Laurel”, and “Ravenna”.
2008 Pilkington’s Textured Flat Glass Designs: “Arctic“, “Stippolyte“, “Flemish“, “Cotswold“, “Autumn” , “Sycamore“, “Mayflower“, “Minster“, “Warwick“, “Everglade“, “Taffeta“, “Pelerine“, “Chantilly“, “Charcoal Sticks“, “Digital“, “Florielle“, “Contora“and “Oak“.
Discontinued glass designs: Deep Flemish, Driftwood, Linkon, Reeded, Matrix, Rough Cast
New glass designs introduced: Charcoal Sticks, Contora, Digital and Oak. All these new patterns are still in production and detailed in the “Current Glass” section near the end of the article.
MAXimum light Window Glass Company
“Special forms of Rolled Colourless Glass such as “Maximum Light” and “Cat’s Eye” are made to give a very brilliant lighting effect for dark rooms, such as those in basements or in other bad positions in the building”
All we currently know about Maximum Light Window Glass Company is that they published adverts circa 1910. Their advertised address was 28 Victoria St London England. Where the glass was made is currently unknown but it was advertised as British Production Prismatic Glass.
A possible connection? – in the 1920s Chances registered “Maximum daylight glass” -registered trade mark no. 310554.
“Cat’s Eye Glass” was advertised alongside ‘MAXimum Light’, so we are presuming they are from the same producers. By 1915 we find no further mention of Cat’s Eye glass.
“A new glass for office partitions, having the appearance of watered silk. Can be used in any position where an artistic effect is desired” Max Silk Glass
James Hartley and Co. / Hartley Wood
Although Hartley’s introduced the first rolled glass to have a textured pattern, we have found no evidence that they ever produced a figured rolled glass pattern. Hartley’s did produce Cathedral Glass and contributed in the development of coloured glass, used for stained glass work. Hartley’s also became world famous for producing ‘Hartleys Patent Plate’, a rough rolled roofing glass.
“The rough rolled plate (often called Hartley’s rolled plate) is also somewhat obscured and having flutes on one side, either in fine lines near together, or with 4 or 11 flutes to the inch run ; it is only made in one quality, in 1’8 in., 3/16 in., 1/4 in., and 3/8 in. thickness, and is mostly used for top lights of lanterns, greenhouses and in roofs where too much light is not required… Diamond or quarry rough plate is similar to rough rolled plate, but having the flutes rolled in diamond or lozenge shaped patterns.”
The Glasgow Plate Glass Company
Information about this firm is very limited, but with every new snippet that we unearth more evidence builds up that The Glasgow Plate Glass Company, although not a very large firm, played a significant role in the story of early rolled figured glasses. To be truthful, at the start of this project we did not know The Glasgow Plate Glass Company produced figured glass sheets, so it was a surprise to discover quotes like; “Figured glass (developed by the Glasgow Plate Glass Co) was produced by the table method..”
Whilst we can find no advertising published by them this was not so unusual for the factories of the time, because merchants promoted and distributed the products. Unfortunately, the glass merchants did not distinguish between the different manufacturers in their brochures and so there is a possibility that we have credited a design (Lustre or Diaper) to Chance that was actually Scottish. We based some identifications when this was still only a two-horse race but hopefully, we may still come across new information that will clear this matter up.
1899: “Mallocene” rolled plate glass was registered with the US Patent Office (33165) by The Glasgow Plate Glass Company. “The word “MALLOCENE.” Used since November 30th 1898.”
1908 Mallocene was being listed for sale in Australia, alongside Muranese Large and Small, Pilkington’s Japanese, Chance’s patterns B & G
1911 – Registered design no 575643 – G.P.G.C.
In the earlier ‘1938 Pilkington/Chance’ section there is a sample of figured glass named “Glasgow Hammered”, which presumably has a connection to this firm?
1892 Patent applications 8554 & 8555 – “A D Brogan and The Glasgow Plate Glass Co. Improvements in apparatus for rolling glass”
The first negotiations of 1895 between Chance Bros and The Glasgow Plate Glass Company to form a joint Limited Liability Company fell through. Chance Bros purchased the works in 1908 and transformed them into a Limited Liability Company. In 1911 Glasgow Plate Glass Ltd became Chance Brothers & Co. Messrs. Brogan and Mallock were the agents used for these transactions.
Trade Journal August 1911 “Resolved June 13, confirmed June 30:- ‘That the firm would be wound up voluntarily’ C. M. Bayne 99 Murano St Glasgow.”
Trade Journal Feb 1912 reports that a meeting was held at the Chance Bros. Smethwick offices on the subject “For an account on the winding up”.
Founded 1871: The Glasgow Plate Glass Insurance Company,”This being a native co, insurers with it have special facilities for transacting their bus, and securing reparations in case of breakage as they supplied only.”
Information Regarding The Glass Patterns
‘Diaper’ would now be a very unusual name to give to a decorative product. The Oxford dictionary gives the definition as “Greek dia for “cross” as in “diamond” or “diagonal”; and aspros, Greek for “white”. A white diamond or white cloth is used on the diagonal, hence the diagonal lattice or reticulation in patterning”.
c. 1855: “They are all glazed with diaper glass of a beautiful pattern, and surrounded with a pink tinted border, which obviates the necessity and saves the trouble and expense of blinds, rollers, and brackets.”
Muranese Pattern Glass
The Muranese ‘daisy’ type of floral pattern was the most popular of all the Victorian patterned glasses and the term ‘muranese glass’ was often used generically to include all of the fancy glass designs.
Muranese rolled figured glass was produced by both Pilkington’s and Chance’s in every colour with a choice of small, medium and large patterns. It derives its name from the Venetian island of Murano, famous for producing high quality blown glass.
A similar pattern is ‘Florentine’ glass, also known as ‘Radiant’, from the USA that can be recognised by areas of banding within a less dense floral cluster. Yet another variation has a defined circle at the centre of each flower. Whilst this pattern was found in an old Mississippi Glass catalogue it dates from a time when British designs were commonly sold by Mississippi.
Murano Street in Glasgow once had two large-scale glass works including The Glasgow Plate Glass Co who were manufacturing figured sheet glass. Were they producing Muranese Glass in Murano Street? Did the Muranese design originate here? We did find one unsubstantiated, but not unrealistic, claim made in the 1990’s, that the Muranese pattern was actually named after the Scottish street rather than the Venetian Island. Murano St is located in an area of Scotland often referred to as “The Venice Of The North” due to the number of canals in the area and so Murano St most likely took it’s name from the Venetian island for this reason.
“Intermediate between the rough “rolled” and the “polished” plate-glass we have a variety of glasses in which the appearance of the rolled surface is hidden or disguised to a greater or lesser extent by the application of a pattern that is impressed upon the glass during the rolling process; thus we have rolled plate having a ribbed or lozenge-patterned surface, or the well-known variety of “figured rolled” plate, sometimes known as “Muranese,” whose elaborate and deeply-imprinted patterns give a very brilliant effect.”
1951 Chance Brothers: Festival Pattern
Chance Brothers produced this commemorative figured glass pattern for the The Festival of Britain in 1951. Helen Megaw was a scientific consultant to the ‘Festival Pattern Group’ who promoted crystallographic patterns as a basis for household textiles, window glass and china as part of the ‘Festival of Britain’.
“It had a small repeat with atoms shown as small blobs so that sunshine does not burn any curtains behind the glass.”
British Design & Pattern Registrations
Class 4 [Glass, Earthenware, Bricks etc.]
Dating these designs is only possible with the registered design numbers, but unfortunately we do not have many of these reg numbers. British pattern registration is all stored at the British Archives in Kew London. By using this table we can narrow the dates down for the reg numbers that we do know, other designs can only be approximated by making comparisons between various catalogues.
Pilkington Bros Decorative Glass Designs
[‘Quilted’ Reg: 124117 – 1889 / 1890] [‘Flowered’ Reg: 124118 1889 / 1890] [‘Morocco’ Reg: 139101 1889 / 1890] [‘Kaleidoscope’ Reg: 191254 1892 / 1893] [‘Shell’ Reg: 196748 – 1892 / 1893] [‘Dimpled’ : Reg:196749 – 1892 / 1893] [‘Indian’ Reg: 213324 1893 / 1894] [‘Dappled’ Reg: 266897 – 1895 / 1896] [‘Arabesque’ Reg: 294564 1897 / 1898] [‘Lozenge’ Reg: 316068 – 1898 / 1899]
Victorian & Edwardian Decorative Glass Samples
Victorian Glass Shop Display Samples. 1890s
Old leaded glass display panel with hand-written glass identification names, sadly no date or location but all early patterns by the Chance Brothers.
1892 advert “Patent Lustre, Diaper, Muranese, Venetian Rippled, Cathedral and all other kinds of fancy glass”
Two similar glaziers panels have been added at the end, from other sources.
This section is intended to present ‘real world’ glass samples, including coloured glass, when only illustrations were produced by the manufacturer and merchants. It will be expanded as we find good examples to include, maybe you have examples that you can contribute?
These are presented as ‘leaded light panels’ for effect only, unlike the genuine Victorian Glass Shop Display Panels above, these ‘panels’ were assembled in Photoshop from photographs taken at different times and places so the relative scale, angle and lighting between the samples is not accurate.
Can you help to identify these Glass Patterns?
We have had no luck, so far, in confirming the following textured glasses. Any glass samples, adverts or catalogue copies you might have that can help to confirm the identification of these samples would be very much appreciated.
In our next section, where we look at the French glass by Saint Gobain, many of these missing designs are probably hiding behind a number, as St Gobain numbered the designs rather than naming them.
Chance Brothers; “Pattern I” & “Pattern J”. Prime candidates are listed in St Gobains catalogue between Chances ‘H’ and ‘K’ – Gobain’s No13, No15, No17, and No18.
Registered design# ‘580119’ – June 1911 – Chance Bros.
Pilkington Brothers: “Maltese” [1923 ref], “Cretan”[1923 ref], “Orient”[1923 ref], “Grained”[1904 ref]
“Prima” & “Caracol” [1909 registered in Argentina – Agosto 21 de 1909 – Pilkington Brothers Limited – Articulos de la clase 40]
Glasgow Plate Glass Co: “Mallocene” 
Registered design# 575643 – March 1911 – Glasgow.P.G.C.
“Wavene” (Unknown Producer – “tinted and fine mottled”) [1937 ref
Unidentified Designs & Patterns
We have just uploaded (below) many European glass patterns that include an id number for some of these designs but it does not give enough information to identify the name of the pattern, the owner of the design or the original year of production. Saint Gobain produced many British designs under license.
Any further information or glass samples you might have, that help to complete the collection, are most welcome; please email Simon or post in the comments.
European Glass: Verres imprimés / Ornamentglass / Vidrios Impresos
In 1892 Saint-Gobain took a Chance Brothers license for the production of figured rolled glass in Europe, producing Chance’s as well Pilkington’s glass designs. They adopted a numerical system instead of naming the designs which can be useful to date the patterns in general terms, but the numbers represent when the pattern was incorporated into the St-Gobain range rather than when it was first registered. Although a numbering system makes logical sense St-Gobain split the patterns into “Diamante” (Diamond Glass), “Imprime” (Figured Rolled) and Lozenge, each with numbers starting at no 1. To confuse matters further the same pattern can appear in both ranges, with different ID numbers.
‘Verres Imprimes, a relief de St-Gobain’
Hector Guimard – Le Verre PDF
This PDF article (2009 French language) relates to restoring a station entrance of the Paris Métropolitain (Métro de Paris) designed by Hector Guimard (1867 – 1942), a prominent figure of the Art Nouveau style. Starting with a small shard of figured glass the article researchers identify the sample as Saint Gobain’s glass design no 18 and then look at the pattern in depth. Google translate has been used to provide these English translations for some of the key points discussed by the author, Frederic Descouturelle. Visit Le Cercle Guimard website.
“To find out more about this glass, it was therefore necessary to access the Saint-Gobain archives kept in Blois. Thanks to the exemplary organization of these archives, several documents have made it possible to trace more precisely the history of printed glass n ° 18.”
This model was delivered to Saint-Gobain on October 4, 1900. The company registered it with the ‘Conseil des Prud’hommes’ in Paris on August 20 1901 as number 11.183 and renewed it for 50 years on May 10 1910 (until January 19, 1960). This same model was also registered by Saint-Gobain for their factory in Brussels, February 20, 1902 under number 1240, renewed on April 4, 1912 and May 27, 1924. It is also registered in Germany, for the Saint-Gobain plant in Stolberg, September 6, 1909, renewed November 25, 1911 for 5 years, expired September 6, 1916. It is also deposited in Italy.
The collection of “printed glass rollers” (April 1902) gives the detail and the origin of the engraved rollers which print the patterns on the glass sheet. Many have been purchased (with their model) in England. For No. 18 printed glass, the roller is manufactured by Offenbacher, in Germany, under number 109, in
price of 600 Marks or 765 F-gold plus 50 F-gold for transport. These
engraved rollers that print the pattern are part of the device of the Chance machine, perfected from 1885 to 1890 by William Edward Chance, director of the English Chance glassworks in Birmingham.
This machine constitutes a significant technical advance in grouping and mechanizing several operations, even if the casting is still discontinuous. The glass is brought into fusion by a ladle, discharged upstream. Two rollers roll the glass which then flows onto a plane tilted, while the engraved roll prints the required pattern. The sheet of glass then advances on the small rollers before being cut and then gradually cooled.
Through its commercial agreements with Chance, until 1914 SaintGobain was the only continental company to be able to use this technology, which gave it a clear advantage over its competitors.
The manufacturing method of this type of glass by printing roller involves regular repetition of the pattern. We know the diameters of some of these rollers: that of glass n ° 15 is 16.6 cm, that of n ° 16 of 14.4 cm, that of n ° 17 of 14 cm, and that of n ° 18 of 12.9 cm. It suffices to multiply these diameters by π to obtain the maximum development of the pattern in one revolution of the roller. For glass n ° 18, its pattern of 20.5 cm high is therefore
printed twice (i.e. 41 cm) in one turn of the roll.
The slight difference with the length of 40.5 cm obtained with a roll of 12.9 cm is found on shard n ° 2, and is slightly shorter than later production of this design, suggesting that a new roller model could have been engraved after the metro work to correct the error.
St Gobain Verre Filigree
Filigree painting on the surface of figured rolled glass appears to be unique to Saint Gobain.
A selection of glass samples taken from the gallery: Album – BOITE n° 2 d’echantifllons trés anciens de verre
Belgium Flat Glass Patterns
Belgium: S.A. Glace et Verre (Glaver), was founded in 1931 Glaver and Univerbel merged in 1961 to form Glaverbel.
For more information about these Belgium Glass adverts visit PostWarBuildingMaterials
Australian Glass: Old Obscured Glass Patterns
1931 – first domestic production of patterned glass was produced
FIGURED ROLLED GLASS. Patterns; KOSCIUSKO (similar to Arctic). SMALL KOSCIUSKO (similar to Small Arctic). WAVERLEY (similar to Flemish). SMALL WAVERLEY (similar to Small Flemish). COOGEE (similar to G). ARROWHEAD (similar to Morocco). PYRAMID (similar to Glistre). SMALL PYRAMID (similar to Small Glistre). SPOTS WOOD (similar to Stippolyte). GLACIER (similar to Dewdrop). EUSTON (similar to No. 2 Hammered Cathedral). SMALL EUSTON (similar to No. 1 Hammered Cathedral). DAPPLED CATHEDRAL. DOUBLE ROLLED CATHEDRAL. MODERNS FLUTED PINHEAD MOROCCO. DOUBLE ROLLED ROUGH CAST, ROUGH CAST, MILL ROLLED. WASHBOARD. WIRED GLASS.WIRED ROUGH CAST, WIRED MILL ROLLED. WIRED “KOSCIUSKO.”
“COLOURED FIGURED ROLLED GLASS is supplied in the ever-popular tints of Amber, Green, Blue and Wine in a wide range of patterns, tones and is generally used for adding a touch of colour to windows or leadlights to relieve what would otherwise be a bare expanse of White, to harmonise with furnishings, and for the purpose of breaking the glare which is ofttimes times noticeable where the sun shines strongly on the glass. Particularly does this apply to Queensland and tropical or sub-tropical climates.”
“Amber tinted Figured Rolled Glass is most suitable for the glazing of churches and halls, and gives a particularly pleasing and restful light and appearance. Green Figured Rolled, when used in conjunction junction with White, is most suitable for sunrooms rooms and verandahs.”
For photo galleries of the patterend glass types that have been sold in Australia visit Greg’s Glass.
USA Glass: Old American Privacy Glass Patterns
These rolled patterned glasses were probably imported from England, or produced under license, and were listed by several American glass suppliers in their catalogs. It is quite possible other British patterns from Pilkington & Chance Brothers were also being sold in America. After America imposed higher import taxation in the 1920s these patterns stopped being imported.
Patent Venetian, Figured No 1 (Diaper), Figured No 2 (Chance’s D), Figured No 3 (Chance’s F), Muranese, Romanesque & Oceanic.
USA Privacy Glass Patterns
Mississippi Glass Company formed in 1876, St Louis, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. During 1884 rough & ribbed coloured cathedral glass sheets were being produced. Shortly afterwards ornamental glass patterns were added including Ondoyant, Florentine, Maze, and Syenite and by the end of the century ‘Fireproof approved’ wired glass was added.
“Apex”, “Maze”, “Florentine”, “Syenite”, “Romanesque”, “Figured No. 2”, “Ondoyant”, “Pentecor”, “Factrolite”, “Rough”, and “Ribbed.”
Polished Wire Glass, Maze Wire Glass, Romanesque Wire Glass, Syenite Wire Glass, Pentecor Wire Glass, Rough Wire Glass, Factrolite Wire Glass, Ribbed Wire Glass
The pattern shown here is a blown-up version of Oceanic from the image above. This glass pattern has not appeared in any other brochure or catalogue we have seen since.
Pilkington Bros were also producing a textured glass named ‘Oceanic’ at this time, but their pattern is quite different.
Mississippi Glass Company Brochures
1914 Pressed Prism Plate Glass Company
193os Magnalite Prism Glass Samples
1932 Blue Ridge Glass Samples
1930s Highland Western Glass Samples
1946 Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company Samples
2013 – Pilkington NSG North America
Pilkington NSG North America added these patterns to expand their standard decorative glass range “Morisco”, “Austral”. “Rayado”, “Sparkel”, “Yacare”. Full brochure: 2013 Pilkington Textured Glass Brochure
Current Glass Patterns
2020 Pilkington Decorative Glass
“Whether it’s for privacy, pure style or to allow more light into internal rooms, Pilkington Texture Glass gives you a stylish range of attractive options. If you need replacement glass to match an existing design, don’t worry, we have a number of well-established designs that are still available.”
Pilkington Texture (Patterned) Glass offers privacy and style throughout the home:
- Provide different degrees of obscuration for privacy or decoration purposes.
- Extensive range of designs and finishes.
- Available with wired glass, and therefore suitable for glazing resistant to fire.
- Available in toughened and laminated forms (depending on design) for safety and security performance.
- Can be single glazed or incorporated in an Insulating Glass Unit for additional properties.
- Available in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses (4, 6, 8 and 10 mm) depending on design.
None of the Pilkington patterns are designed to have an orientation (an upside) but care needs to be taken with adjacent panes that the pattern direction is maintained. There is a linear nature to Pilkington Texture Glass Warwick™ and so householders should be aware that there could be aesthetic implications when choosing this design. Also, for the glass supplier, the result may be that this pattern is less accommodating when cutting and may result in a greater proportion of waste from the original glass plate.
2020 Pilkington Oriel Collection – Etched Glazing.
“This exciting range of stunning, high-end decorative etched glass designs offer excellent light transmission with various levels of privacy. The range is available in a variety of contemporary and traditional designs, each with a modern opaque appearance.”
Please Note: Etched glass can become almost clear when wet.
Seraphic Glass: screen printed ceramic coatings
Barron Glass : Traditional Etched Glass Designs.
Available as cut to size or in sheets of 1120 x 2140 mm. Thicknesses: standard 4mm and safety glass (5 mm or 7mm laminate – we do not recommend that our glass be toughened). All patterns also available in a fully opaque version suitable for locations where complete privacy is required (laminate only). This glass can be supplied as double glazed units.
China & Asia Pattern Glass
Figured Rolled Glass is now being produced in China with some very familiar patterns and tints on offer. These sheets are produced in 3, 4 and 6mm thickness but unfortunately the art-glass suppliers who stock them will usually only have 3mm. Their primary market is supplying hobby art-glass and a 3mm thickness glass is easier for their customers to cut into curved shapes. Unless fancy and tinted glass has a resurgence in popularity the supply of the thicker sheets is likely to remain limited.
In compiling this article the research has taken us in many different directions that we had never anticipated. We have documented the ‘Mason And Conqueror’ process for making rolled glass; We scratched the surface of the hidden histories relating to both “The Glasgow Plate Glass Company” and “Maximum Daylight Company”; We brought to light and provided names for hundreds of old discontinued glass patterns from all around the world as well as displaying old advertisements that had not been reproduced for over a hundred years…We also ran out of working PHP memory to edit the page and so had to create a separate page for the Victorian etched and cathedral glasses… Ultimately what we have compiled is likely the largest knowledge base relating to figured rolled window glass, that has ever existed in one place.
Excuse me as I drop the ‘third-person narrative’ to sign off;
“I have enjoyed the journey of research and discovery into these old patented window glass designs and the story of their manufacture, using techniques dating back over 130 years. It is rewarding to help shed some light onto this little documented part of our architectural heritage, a part of history that we literally see the world through everyday. I only hope that I have managed to convey the subject to you, the reader, in an accurate, interesting and enjoyable format.
Thanks to the libraries and private collectors that have digitised and shared their old books with the world, this article would have been much shorter and far less informative without their contributions.” Simon Free, 2020.
1895 – Chipped, ground, enameled and embossed glass in all varieties.
by Rawson & Evans (Chicago, Ill.)
1896 – Wire glass, its uses and application as a fire retardent / made by the Mississippi Glass Company
1915 – Catalog of Pennsylvania “Solid” wire glass and glass without wire.
by Pennsylvania Wire Glass Co
1923 – Glass, paints, varnishes and brushes: their history, manufacture, and use
by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
1924 – “Revised” international art glass catalog domestic : showing designs of the highest grade art glass.
by Mound City Art Glass Company
1929 – Glass by Mississippi.
by Mississippi Glass Co. and Mississippi Wire Co.
1930 – Figured glass by Mississippi
by Mississippi Glass Company
1930 – Old beauty in new glass. Tapestry Glass
by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
1933 – Glass by Mississippi.
by Mississippi Glass Co. and Mississippi Wire Co.
1933 – Glass and Paint Products of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
1933 – Flat glass: Flat drawn window glass, polished plate glass, safety glass, figured and wire glass
by Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company
1935 – Pennvernon window glass.
by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
1935 – 52 designs to modernize Main street with glass.
by Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co.
1937 – Plate glass
by Plate Glass Manufacturers of America
1937 – Invisible glass window units: a dramatic new merchandising force.
by Invisible Glass Company of America
1938 – Glass products of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
1938 – Libbey Owens Ford glass.
by Libbey Owens Ford
1941 – Glass designed for happiness.
by Libbey Owens Ford Glass Company
1941 -Libbey Owens Ford quality flat glass products.
by Libbey Owens Ford Glass Company
1945 – Planning ahead with glass for more enjoyable living.
by Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company
1949 – Specify Mississippi Glass
by Mississippi Glass Co.
1949 – Glass Rolled, Figured, and Wire Glass
by Southwestern Sheet Glass Co.
1949 – “American” Glass
by American Window Glass Co.
1949 – Magnalite Diffusing glass
by J. Merrill Richards
1949 – Glass Data for the Architect
by Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company
1950 – How to give your home glamour with glass.
by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.
1958 – Mississippi Glass for industrial, commercial, school, residential use, catalog no. 58-G
by Mississippi Glass Company
2020 Saint Gobain Decorative Glass
Our Related Articles
Reference Books & Sites
British Glass, 1800-1914 – Charles R. Hajdamach
Windows: History, Repair and Conservation – Michael Tutton