Wavy glass is the distortion or “waves” and imperfections that appear when looking at Antique/Vintage glass from an angle or even straight on. Wavy glass is a product from early manufacturing methods of sheet glass.
Craftsmen would blow through a tube to form single sheets of glass for doors and windows. This style of glass blowing would result in imperfections such as waves and tiny bubbles. Glass from the 1700’s has more striking waves, heavy reams and bubbles than glass from the 1800’s. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that machines began to replace the Craftsmen, but the glass still had subtle waves of imperfection. In the 1950’s the manufacturing process of glass had improved enough to where all the beautiful waves and imperfections had disappeared.
Wavy glass can still be found in Antique and Vintage doors along with windows and other furniture items. A popular way to enjoy wavy glass is by installing an Antique/Vintage door with wavy glass in your home as a functional door. This popular design choice adds personality, character and charm to a home without breaking the bank with an expensive remodel. These doors are being found in pantries, laundry rooms, bathrooms, closets, personal spaces and front entries.
When looking at an Antique/Vintage door at a salvage house or boutique, hold the door upright, and while keeping the door still, move your head side to side while looking across the glass. If you do not see any waves try moving the door front and back while you are still. Remember while you look upon the wavy glass think about how much went into that single pane and how lucky you are to see such a beautiful piece of art still intact today. Finding wavy glass, especially heavily imperfect wavy glass, is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Try looking for some wavy glass today in some historic places in your town and have fun watching the reflections in the glass ride the waves of craftsmanship.
Written by Angela Reed, co-owner of Antiquities Storehouse and 30+ year resident of Prescott, AZ. Angela along with her team in the Midwest collect Architectural Salvage and Antique doors and then transport them across the country to Arizona. An adventure she enjoys with her husband and two kids.