Here at Salt Lake City Stained Glass one of the things we love most about our job is the joy our stained glass restorations bring to our customers. Whether it be at churches, synagogues, historic homes, or universities, the work we do brings us great fulfillment. And such was the case of our most recent project, via our parent company–Scottish Stained Glass.
Replicating Sam Houston State’s Historic Stained Glass Windows
Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879 and as such, is one of the oldest universities in Texas. One of its most lovely stained glass windows was sadly destroyed in a fire in 1982)that ravaged one of the main original buildings. In 2020 SHSU made the fantastic decision to commemorate their school motto “The measure of a Life is its Service, through having a replica of the original stained glass made. They called on our company, Scottish Stained Glass to rebuild it and we were happy to aid them in preserving the legacy of their wonderful organization.
The First Challenge of Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass
This project had unique but not unconquerable challenges associated with it. For one, our team was creating a replication from almost nothing. In fact, we only had a picture from a 1962 yearbook to guide our way. However, using modern technology we were able to innovate and give this recreation the respect it deserved! We scanned the picture into the computer, then printed it out full size, we then painstakingly traced each line. After that, it was back into our CAD program for final touches and to resize it to twice the size–per the request of SHSU.
The Second Challenge of Restoring Sam Houston State University’s Lost Stained Glass
The issue next issue is actually fairly common when restoring vintage stained glass. Sourcing materials used over a century ago is many times hard or impossible since many no longer exist. This is especially true for colors. This meant tapping into our network of conservation specialists to help us find glass in colors that were as close as possible to the originals. We then had our stained glass artists paint over each stained glass panel that did not match to make them exactly match the original hues. lTthe final look was exact!
The Results of the Recreated Commemorative Stained Glass Window
This rewarding project took almost a year to complete and some areas with lots of shadowing needed over ten layers were used to create depth. All in all this lovely commemorative window has about 3,000- 4,000 pieces. More to the point, the university staff, board, and students were so happy with the lovely final product, and honestly, so were we! We’re always honored to be a part of an amazing project to restore and preserve history for generations to come.