Stained glass is colored by adding metallic salts to the molten glass. Painted details can also be added to the glass pieces, adding to the artistic effect.
March 26, 1886 The Montrose Democrat, Montrose, Susquehanna County, PA.: Stained Glass In Houses. A New Craze Which Costs Money and Gives Artists Steady Employment. "Through the increased demand for stained glass windows in the city as well as in the suburbs," said the foreman of a large jewelry establishment on Broadway a few days ago, "this firm has been compelled to go into the business, and to-day there is scarcely one of our richest customers whose dwelling is not adorned with stained glass windows. For centuries past stained glass was used only in churches and cathedrals and bore the imprints of holy persons. This is no longer the case, and a country residence without its artistically stained windows is considered out of place. Within a year or two the number of artists engaged in this profession or business has increased at least about twenty-fold, and yet our ability to fill our orders is sometimes overtaxed. Do stores have stained glass windows? No. What you see in restaurant and saloon windows is nothing but colored paper glossed over with varnish, and a very poor imitation it is at best. The first of the leading merchants in this new departure was the late Horace B. Claflin. He got us to decorate his summer residence at Fordham. The vestibule doors and the rear hall entrance are brilliantly decorated. The dome surmounting this palatial residence is also artistically glazed with stained glass of many hues and colors." "What are the favorite colors?" "They differ and vary as much as do the fashions. Just at present the colors most sought after are old gold, ruby, and an infinite variety of shades of green. There is also a large and increasing demand for what is known as jewelled work. These jewels are composed of small pieces of glass, which are either round or oblong, are cut in the style or shape of diamonds, or are left plain." "Are these jewels manufactured in this country and how are they made?" "Most of them are. They are made by pouring molten glass into moulds, and when cold the diamond is cut on the glass." "Have the general public begun to understand this artistic business?" "No, for in the first instance they think the work is very expensive. It is true that certain designs are beyond the reach of the middle classes, but they could have handsome decorations for one-half the price they believe it would cost them. It is amusing to see many customers come in here and give their orders without having the faintest idea of what they require. Their neighbors have stained glass windows, and they must have the same. "How do you meet the difficulty?" "For the accommodation of such customers we always keep on hand a multitude of designs, many of which are marked in glass and others drawn on paper. Frequently a selection from these is made; but very often we have to make special drawings for them. Let me give you and instance. A prominent bank president, who recently built himself a mansion on Long Island Sound, called here, went through every design in the place, but said that none suited him. What he desired most of all was something new for a large star window that overlooked the Sound. There was good boating and fishing in the vicinity, he added, and he wanted something appropriate. We made a design on paper. It represented a sportsman on one knee, gun in hand, at the shore of a lake, aiming at a string of ducks just taking flight from the water, having been disturbed by a water spaniel. This suited the gentleman in every particular, and he paid handsomely for the window and was well satisfied. To cut figures, or rather put them together with pieces of different colored glass requires time and the greatest care. There is another class of customers who come here with prepared designs on paper, and there is still another who leave the whole matter to us. For this class of customers we send to their residences, and having studied the surroundings carefully, either in town or suburb, submit designs that are suitable. It is astonishing how much of this latter work is done without a single complaint or alteration in the artist's design."