Prismatic Glass answers lighting and Mystery Photo conundrums!

We’ve identified the location, so this month, we want to hear what you know about the glass shown here below the arch of Federico’s. The rectangular squares- what name is applied to them, and what is their purpose?

Congratulations to Julie of Traverse City for her correct response! The glass you will see in the windows of Frederico’s is prismatic glass, intended to bring the brightness from outside to inside the building, in an era when electric lights weren’t very effectiveThe glass is smooth on one side, and the interior side has triangular ribs that refract light rays deep in to a room. They were originally made only in tile form and later in larger sheets. Prismatic glass (or American 3-way Prism) was produced from 1896 to about 1940.

Follow this link for a more thorough look at this architectural marvel:

2 thoughts on “Prismatic Glass answers lighting and Mystery Photo conundrums!”

  1. A nice picture. The tiles are actually made by Solar Prism Co. of Cleveland Ohio. You can tell by the little “center jewel” looking part of the tile. I have one of their logo tiles (rare to find). It’s funny that some tiles have turned more purple then others (due to manganese in the glass). I have seen other transom windows with similar darker/lighter tiles, most seemed to have “aged” the same color though.

    1. Huh, thanks for teaching us all a little something about prismatic glass, Jeff! Manganese, who would’ve thought? Thanks for reading!

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