Massey Door.jpg

History of Stained Glass, Part 1

Stained glass is one of the most beautiful creations by humans. When the light hits them just right, they twinkle and shine, making their artwork come to life. The figures truly seem to dance and make merry, leaving you wanting to join in on the party.

Abraxis Art Glass & Doors offers the best custom stained glass services. We've created custom stained glass window panels for churches, homes, and businesses throughout Northern Colorado. Our expert craftsmen partner with you to create a stunning piece that you will enjoy for years to come. Below, we'll take a brief look at the fascinating history of stained glass. Contact our glass company today!


The purpose of glass windows is so that you can see out and so that light can be let in. This was especially crucial before the time of electricity. However, stained glass had a different purpose and that was to serve as artwork. Stained glass was purely for aesthetic value, and it was used as a form of story-telling.

Stained glass was first created by the ancient Egyptians and the Romans during ancient times. We have very few surviving pieces of stained glass, making it difficult to date the beginning of this process. Stained glass beads have been found in Egypt dating to 2700 BC. Romans used stained glass in their homes in the first century AD.

To make stained glass, normal glass is colored by metallic oxides during the manufacturing process. Potash, sand, and these oxides are heated to intense temperatures around 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. The colors are created by the different hues that are added. When the glass cools, the color stays. The glass was then flattened while still hot and then it was cut into pieces to fit the design of the window. Grozing was used and then details were sometimes painted on. The glass was fitted into H-shaped strips of lead called cames, which were then put together to form panels. These were then hung on walls or in windows.


The popularity of stained glass can be correlated with the spread of Christianity, and it became the dominant form of artwork in the first millennium.

Soon, churches began to incorporate stained glass for decoration into their cathedrals, abbeys, convents, and more. This began around the 7th century AD. Soon, every new cathedral and house of worship was using stained glass by the Middle Ages. In the beginning, the Romanesque-style dominated, which was still dark and used thick walls and frames around the glass. Churches funded many of the stained glass designs of the time. Many considered light the manifestation of God himself, so by making stained glass windows bigger and more beautiful, it was pleasing to God.

It wasn't until Gothic architecture became popular that you see huge pieces of stained glass in cathedrals. This was because height and light are emphasized in this style, with spires and thin walls. These windows were primarily made in two forms: tall lancet windows or round rose windows. Both used meticulous details and decorative stone support to create huge pieces of art, which let in more light than before. Stained glass was also popular in the East, adorning Islamic temples as well. There were many glass industries in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Iran at the time. Most stained glass told Biblical stories, which was important at a time when most people could not read. Some historians even speculate that stained glass windows made more of a religious impact on people than the sermons did.


Abraxis Art Glass & Doors makes custom stained glass art for your home or office in Northern Colorado. Contact us today!

CTA Banner 3.jpg