Leadlights 101

Rus from Adelaide Glaziers Installing a leadlight into a 1946 S.A. Railways vintage tram

A leadlight (also known as leaded glass or leaded lights) is a type of decorative window that is made by assembling small pieces of glass together using lead cames. The lead cames are H-shaped strips that fit around the edges of each glass piece, creating a secure frame. The assembled pieces are then soldered at the joints to create a sturdy window.

Characteristics of Leadlights:

  1. Design and Pattern:
    • Leadlights typically feature intricate patterns, designs, or pictorial scenes. They can be geometric or abstract and can include colored or textured glass.
  2. Historical Context:
    • Leadlights have been used for centuries and are often associated with traditional and historic buildings. They are commonly seen in churches, heritage homes, and period-style architecture.
  3. Difference from Stained Glass:
    • Although similar, leadlights are often distinguished from stained glass windows. Leadlights usually have smaller, more detailed patterns and are often found in domestic settings, while stained glass refers to larger windows with painted elements, frequently found in religious or institutional buildings.
  4. Craftsmanship:
    • Making leadlights is a skilled craft that requires precision in cutting the glass and assembling the pieces securely and neatly.
  5. Light Transmission:
    • Leadlights can create beautiful effects as light passes through the colored or textured glass pieces, contributing to the ambiance of a space.


  • Leadlights can be used in windows, doors, skylights, and other features within residential and commercial buildings.


  • Due to the use of lead, which can deteriorate over time, leadlights may require periodic maintenance or restoration.

In summary, leadlights add a touch of artistry and historical charm to buildings, enriching the aesthetic appeal through detailed craftsmanship and vibrant light play.


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