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I was asked to do some repairs of windows at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

There I encountered the unusual lead shown in these photos.

The museum was originally designed by Ellis F. Lawrence, a founder and first dean of the university's School of Architecture and Allied Arts. HIs buildings have many fine details. Most of the colored glass windows in his buildings are assembled with zinc.

the leaded glass windows with the unusual lead

Right: These simple leaded glass windows overlook the museum's interior courtyard.

The colored glass in a number of Lawrence's windows were made by the Povey Brothers Glass Studio that operated in Portland, Oregon from 1888 until 1930, when the studio was sold.

A strip of lead a f

The museum was begun in September, 1929 and completed in 1932, so it is not clear who might have made these windows.

Although I have worked with lead came for many years, I have never seen it being made. Books on stained glass explain that the lead is cast and then milled. The milling creates the channels that receive the glass. Perhaps there is a modern method for making the came by extruding, because I have lead that has no marks from milling.

A close up of the the unusual textured lead

My guess is that the texture of the face of this lead was made by casting the molten lead into a form that had been shaped or that held an insert to impart the design. Then the glass was milled as usual. If some sort of rolling mill were used to create the design, it would be a repeating pattern, and this doesn't appear to be the case.

I believe that Ellis F. Lawrence wanted this detail in his building, and he found someone to make it. There are good reasons that textured lead cames are unusual—in most traditional settings, the treatment would not be seen because the glass is distant and the lead face is in the shadow of the light coming through the glass. Most residential settings that might be viewed at less distance use a thinner came than this example, and so any texture would be less evident and seem rather fussy.