Prismatic glass

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A window glass with sawtooth shaped ribs on the interior face. The patent for prism glass was issued in 1885 to J. Pennycuick. Prism glass was first exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and it was commercially produced in 1896 by the Luxfer Prism Company. The angled gratings redirected light to the back of a room and down hallways. Luxfer prism glass advertised that it could double the amount of light that entered a room when compared to normal window glass. This was important to the design of pre-electric buildings. Prism glass was often incorporate in the upper third of storefronts. The advent of electrical lighting and the introduction of hollow glass blocks dissipated the need for prism glass and it was no longer manufactured after 1936.

Synonyms and Related Terms

prismatisch glas (Ned.); vidro prismático (Port.); American 3-Way Prism; Daylight Prism; Luminous Prism; Luxfer Prism; Seachlight Prism; Solar Prism; ribbed glass

Resources and Citations

  • Dietrich Neumann, "Prismatic Glass", in Twentieth-Century Building Materials, T. Jester (ed.), McGraw-Hill: New York, 1995.
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • M.Cook, M.Ferro, "Electric Lighting and Wiring in Historic American Buildings" Technology & Conservation, 1/83, p. 28-48.

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