More Glass & Locks

Our latest farmstay on the Sunshine coast came with a very pleasant surprise - an apparently abandoned shed full of salvage windows, glass and miscellaneous hardware. So I snuck out early one morning with my camera to see if I could find anything of interest, which I did.

Let's start with a selection of rolled figured glass, a hallmark of vintage Queensland houses that we've looked at in a previous post. These panes are all original, rolled glass and many were imported from glassworks in the British Midlands. How do we know that they are original? Run your fingertips across the back and you'll feel the gentle undulations and imperfections of the manufacturing process. Reproduction figured glass is perfectly smooth and, I suppose, comparatively lifeless.

All of the below images are "clickable" to enlarge, but please excuse the average resolution of my smart-phone camera.

First out a louver window with (from the top) a clear pane of the ubiquitous "Arctic" glass followed by an amber pane of a Victorian-style medallion pattern that I have seen in houses dating back to the late 1880's, often in a bright red colour that went out of fashion when softer pastels arrived with the Art Noveau era. It is probably one of the oldest patterns commonly seen in the Brisbane suburbs. The bottom pane is a green "Venetian" variety.

 More of the medallion-style pattern, in clear glass.

The pretty "Muranese" pattern was manufactured by the Chance Brothers of Birmingham and came in a variety of colours, in small, medium and large pattern sizes. This window has medium patterns of purple, amber, green and clear glass.

A large pattern Muranese in green.

This pane has the Arctic pattern in cobalt blue, a bold and comparatively rare colour in our suburbs. A few of these panes in an external window is enough to dictate the colours of the rest of the house - it is that dominant.

Next up some made product made locally by Australian Window Glass Pty Ltd., from the late 20's and onward. Before this date all window glass, figured or not, was imported from overseas. These clear panes are of the "Pyramid" (left) and "Double Rolled Cathedral" (right) patterns. The bold geometry and prism-like effect of the Pyramid pattern goes well with architecture from the Art Deco era.

More Victorian medallions, in amber and purple.

I haven't come across this pattern before - basically a Granite-type pattern with transecting ribbons. Clearly a later and not particularly inspired design, probably by Australian Window Glass Pty Ltd.

And finally a wonderfully whimsical and naive "stars and swirls" pattern in green and purple. I found this glass in a homestead just North of the NSW border, built 1901. I haven't seen it anywhere else, and long may it remain in this historic property.

The shed had stacks of salvaged doors with original rim locks in varying states of decay. The most interesting is the second one, a pressed case rim lock marked "The Maryborough Special". Probably dating from the 1900s to 1930s I doubt that it was locally made - more likely manufactured and marked in the UK or US for a local retailer.

I'm always on the lookout for examples of antique architectural glass and hardware - if you have any interesting examples or information please let me know.


  1. Hi Magnus, we are actually installing joinery in the kitchen which features decorative glass that is very similar to the Victorian-style medallion glass in your second photo. I think my architects have nailed-it with some of the selections they have proposed for our renovation. xx

  2. Having had new glass installed for a few windows, you can tell the difference between old and new. Your holiday looks like it was in a nice part of the world. xx

  3. Hi C&A - thanks for your comments. The selection and restoration of window glass is a science in its own right. There's some good reproduction glass around for vintage houses, but for new homes and extensions I'm all for exploring the range of modern designs available.

  4. Hello;
    I am looking (without any luck) for pyramid glass to replace a broken window. do you have glass for sale?

  5. the top rim lock has the three leg symbol that is the coat of arms for the Isle of Man