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STREET TREATS & HIDDEN TREASURES: LOWELL'S RESIDENTIAL FANCY GLASS
 
     Even though the colonies prospered, glass continued to be an expensive, hand-fabricated material which was subject to European trade restrictions and was relatively hard to come by.  Consequently, for the first 200 years, neither churches nor secular buildings in America featured ornamental glass.

RESIDENTIAL STAINED GLASS
It was the invention of the balloon-framing system for construction and the mass production of building materials made possible by the Industrial Revolution that brought about the explosion of architectural styles in the middle and late nineteenth century known today as Victorian.  The Victorian Period (1837-1901) corresponds to the years that Queen Victoria was on the English throne.  In the United States, it was a time when a wide variety of materials became available; new materials that could be swiftly transported by a growing network of railroads.  An amazing selection of architectural features and decorative elements were available for the ordering from popular pattern books.  The new residential architecture that emerged featured turrets, towers and windows in odd shapes and asymmetrical placements.  Fancy glass was a part of this creative surge. Such artistic expression quickly caught the imagination of a nation that prided itself on 
individuality and innovation.

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
The exhibit is located in two areas of the Mogan Cultural Center - the Immigrants' Experience of the Working People's Exhibit and the University of Lowell Center for Lowell History.  Within the Working People's Exhibit is a history of architectural decorative glass from its European traditions to its purely American residential stylistic examples.  Various types of glass are on display, along with the tools of the craft.  An actual window demonstrates the steps required to create stained glass, from design idea to completion, using the various types of glass: flashed, etched, sand-blasted, jeweled, and beveled.  Photographs of some Lowell homes and a sampling of fancy glass found from the Acre to the Tyler Park National Historic District demonstrate both street treats and hidden treasures.  The exhibit in the University of Lowell Center for Lowell History is focused on glass in Lowell.  At the peak of the Victorian era fancy glass was produced by studios all over America.  Although names like Tiffany and LaFarge are well-known today in association with the production of stained glass,

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