View single post by Roberto
 Posted: Mon Nov 17th, 2008 09:04 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 12th, 2006
Location: Needham, Massachusetts USA
Posts: 171

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The earliest application of fins I have seen was on a window I worked on from the Tirolian Glass Masters dated 1860. These fins were attached to the interior of the window rather to the exterior.

As Vic has said, Tiffany used fins on his foiled windows starting 100 years ago and they seem to have withheld time, gravity and ...critics.

Since this topic has been brought up again, I would like to discuss the difference I see in foil windows versus leaded windows. I feel fortunate to have been involved in the repair and restoration of stained glass because, by working on old windows I get to see where they failed, determine how and why, and learn how can I make it better. So the following are accounts from my observation.

I have yet to see a Tiffany window fabricated all in copper foil, with no support bars and only fins to the exterior, suffer deterioration and deflection the way some leaded glass windows have.

There are many of Tiffany’s foiled windows that are wonderful examples. The first to come to mind and probably the best example is the Arlington Street Church in Boston. A Church full of Tiffany windows, probably a dozen, each measuring approximately 4’ wide x 7’ high. Heavily plated, foiled, no support bars to the interior but an amazing web of intelligently and artistically attached fins to the exterior. The windows have never been removed for repair and are in good condition.

A few years ago I worked for a local church where a window from the 1930s, measuring approximately 3’ x 7.5’, was collapsing. The lead was so deteriorated it could be peeled off with my fingernails. The severe deflection was astonishing as there was a support bar every 12 “, yet the window and its lead failed.

Same church, two windows down, same elevation. Two Tiffany windows same dimension as the leaded window. One fabricated in 1905, the second one in 1906. All copper foil, three to four layers, no support bars to the interior, only fins to the exterior. Condition: Flat as a board and as strong as it probably was the day it left the studio in the 1900s.

I recently had in my studio a very large Tiffany landscape window measuring approximately 4’ wide x 8’ high. Once again, all foil, three layers, no support bars, just fins to the exterior side. As flat as it was the day it was installed and just as strong. No deterioration, no deflection. The reason I had it is that the window was removed from its original location in 1967 and donated to a university library where it has been since then. It was being moved into a new location and it had some cracked glass, which was probably caused in the 1967 move. They also needed it safely stored for a short period.

I am not promoting copper foil in our craft. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I would fabricate a window with foil. It just seems so time consuming and I would go absolutely nuts.

But the question is why hasn’t it been accepted? The only argument I hear is that “lead has been used in stained glass windows for centuries whereas copper foil has only been used for 100 years or so”. I would like to hear others' opinions on the subject on this Bulletin Board. Am I alone in my analogy?
Thank you,
Roberto Rosa
Serpentino Stained Glass

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