Stained Glass Historical Timeline

Free Class:  Peter Ruplinger has a complementary forty-five minute slide presentation on the Cathedrals and stained glass of France.  He is pleased to deliver this presentation at no charge to any school, business, or organization.  Please phone at 801.294.0315 for more information.

The following historical timeline is taken primarily, but not entirely from Stained Glass From Its Origins to the Present, by Virginia Raguin, 2002

First Century, AD

As early as the First Century, AD, glass was cast into sand molds, and also mouth blown with a pipe.







Cast Glass

Photo from Corning Glass Museum













Mouth blown glass

Photo from Corning Glass Museum







Both cast and and mouth blown methods are still used today.  As late as the sixties, large bottles were often mouth blown with a pipe.



Today much ornamental glass such as vases and bottles are still mouth blown.  Some of the most beautiful sheet glass is also mouth blown.  It is formed by first blowing a large elongated bottle.  The bottle is then placed on a steel table while still molten.  Molten glass is much like rubber in texture.  While resting on the table it is slit down the side with heavy duty scissors.  The glass then lays flat on the table and is allowed to gradually cool over an hour or more.

















Elegant mouth blown sheet glass being formed at Lambert Studios.

Fifth Century AD

France is the Mecca of stained Glass.  The French city of Tours, has the Cathedral of Saint Gatianus de Tours, and several churches with spectacular glass art.  It’s not surprising that our earliest literary mention of stained glass has its origin in Tours.  That was in the Fifth Century AD.  Historians are not aware of any existing remnants from this period.


Seventh Century AD

Northern England is reported to be the first region to use lead (“came”) to hold segments of glass together.  It is still widely used today.  Regrettably, most of the early glass art in England was destroyed during the reformation.  A few churches had the glass simply plastered over, thus preserving it.


Icon Ruplinger Stained Glass  Eighth Century

Silver stain is unique, in that it soaks into interior of the glass.  Typical glass paints are made from finely powdered glass mixed with water.  They are applied to the surface of glass, and then fused in a kiln at about 1,250 F.  Silver stain makes a chemical bond with glass providing an rich and extremely durable color.  Silver stain is reported by some sources to have been first used by Moslem cultures.

Eleventh Century

To be continued.