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A thick, paste-like mixture of Linseed oil (about 15%) with powdered Calcium carbonate (about 85%). Putty was used to secure a window pane to the frame and while forming an air and water tight seal. It was also used to fill defects in wood and metal. Some putties also contained Lead white or Red lead and were called white lead putty and red lead putty. The lead pigments accelerated the drying of the linseed oil. Colorless putty was made by mixing Alumina trihydrate with oil or resin varnishes. Caulking putty is a putty mixture that may contain asbestos fiber as a filler. In the second half of the 20th century, many new types of sealants and glazing compounds became available using synthetic polymers resulting in the abandonment of the oil based putties.
See also Glazing compound, and Sealant.

Synonyms and Related Terms

window putty; glazing putty; picture putty; red lead putty; white lead putty; glazing compound; caulking; caulk; fill; Kitt (Deut.); Glaserkitt (Deut.); Fensterkitt (Deut.); kalfatring (Dan.); kit (Pol.); mastic (Fr.);

Physical and Chemical Properties

For removing old glazing, chemical methods use methylene chloride based paint strippers to soften the putty. Mechanical removal methods use directed heat (spatulas or air-guns) but contact of the heat with glass may cause cracking.

Resources and Citations

  • J.Thornton, "A Brief History and Review of the Early Practice and Materials of Gap-Filling in the West" JAIC 37: 3-22, 1998
  • M. Doerner, The Materials of the Artist, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1934
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 642
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Frank A. Lent, Trade names and Descriptions of Marbles, Limestones, Sandstones, Granites and Other Building Stones Quarried in the United States Canada and other Countries., Stone Publishing Co, New York, 1925