Blake's Transom - Sunlight from the front ... in mahogany frame
blakes_transom_restoration001011.jpg
Blake's Jeweled and Beveled Victorian Transom - after restoration
Weight applied to the bowed window to flatten it.
blakes_transom_restoration001010.jpg
Blake's Transom - damage from rear
blakes_transom_restoration001009.jpg
Blake's Transom - damage from front
blakes_transom_restoration001008.jpg
Blake's Transom - temporarily hanging in my kitchen
Blake's Transom - mahogany from an old front door
Blake's Transom - applying whiting and brushing
Blake's Transom - cementing the window
Blake's Transom - new U-channel border added
Front side view showing where the window sagged in about 1 1/2" on each side of a reinforceing bar.
Back view of the window showing the reinforcing bar in the center and the glass sagging inward.
Blake's Transom Restoration
Dean's Stained Glass
Dean's Stained Glass
blakes_transom_restoration001007.gif
Back to Home Page
email%20dean.jpg
flag-usa2.gif
There is nothing I hate more than repairing antique stained glass..... frustrating, dirty, aggravating, etc. ..........but......
First step in the restoration process was to remove the window fom its frame and lay flat. To remove the bow in the window and flatten it back takes both heat and time. After 3 days laying in my yard in the heat of the sun, the window was began to flatten. Over the next few weeks, with strategically placed weights, I was able to get the glass and lead to slowly return to their original position without breaking anything. Finally, gentle (and careful) use of a heat gun persuaded the final areas to lay flat.
I stopped by to visit my good friend Blake in Auburn, Alabama and he showed me this window. I was speechless.... he had an absolutely gorgeous jeweled and beveled Victorian transom in his office. Unfortunately, 100+ years had been less than kind to this window. It has laid on its back for probably decades and was badly bowed and just barely holding together....but it was all still there. I instantly fell in love with this window, and in a brief lapse of judgement, I volunteered to restore this transom to its former glory. As they say... "It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it!"
Blake's Jeweled and Beveled Victorian Transom - after restoration
blakes_transom_restoration001006.jpg
When finally flat, I removed the old lead border and replaced it with 1/2" zinc U-channel. This gives the transom a little more strength and serves to hold it together. The glass pieces and bevels originally fit into u-shaped lead channel and cemented in with putty. A hundred years later, a good portion of this cement has dried and loosened or fallen out.... leaving the glass loose in the window. In order to re-cement the window, any loose cement had to be removed.
blakes_transom_restoration001005.jpg
I use a turpentine based putty cement that is forced into the spaces between the lead and glass with a stiff brush. Both sides of the window must be re-cemented.
blakes_transom_restoration001004.jpg
After scraping off the excess putty, a powder called whiting is sprinkled on the glass. Made of ground sea shells (lime), it is brushed vigorously to absorb the remaining cement and clean the glass. After cementing, the window must remain still for several days for the cement to harden..... then on to a thorough cleaning.
blakes_transom_restoration001003.jpg
The original window frame was unsalvageable, so we needed a new frame. Luckily, I had a few pieces mahogany salvaged when a neighbor replaced their 20 year old front door a few years ago. A little rough, but some re-sawing and a lot of sanding, turned this beautiful recycled wood into a new frame.
blakes_transom_restoration001002.jpg
blakes_transom_restoration001001.jpg
It was a month or two before I could deliver Blake's Transom to Auburn. At least for a short time, I was able to enjoy Blake's Transom every day ..... hanging in my kitchen.
Blake's Transom
I am not an expert in antique stained glass. My uneducated guess is that this magnificient piece of glass was built about 1905 in the American Midwest. When I put together this page I asked if there was anyone who could help date this piece correctly to please contact me. Recently Nancy, a specialist in Victorian era architecture, contacted me with an expert opinion. Her comments are quoted below:


This was a challanging project for me. Over 35 years, I have built hundreds of pieces of stained glass, but never had a chance to restore a piece this large or this nice. In reality, I could have built a similar transom much faster..... but I never could have duplicated the handmade bevels and jewels in this antique window.
Blake's Transom measures 18" x 44 1/2" and is framed in a 1 3/4" x 2 1/2" solid mahogany frame. It was restored in December, 2012. It's new home is in Auburn, Alabama.
Blake's Transom - Sunlight from the front ... in new mahogany frame
"The combination of beveled pieces and colored pieces was popular in the 1890's in the midwest. Given the complexity of the window I would say it dates from 1887 - 1895, and probably from around 1890."
My estimate now stands corrected, thanks to Nancy. I hope my efforts, and the care of its owner, will sustain this beautiful piece of American history for its next 100 years.