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How they are made and
How are these cases made then ?
Traditionally "Lead Came" has been used
for "Leaded lights" i.e. windows built up using clear
and coloured glass; from churches through to Art Deco doors
and windows. "Lead came" formed into an "I" section
grips the glass. At the joins, a large soldering iron
is used to fuse the "cames" together.
Back in the 1890s
Louis Comfort Tiffany
developed the use of copper foil for making
his - now famous - lamps. The point being, that copper foil
is altogether lighter- literally and figuratively.
With copper foil one can develop light and intricate
Copper foil with a heat resistant
adhesive back is "wrapped" around the edges of the cut
glass. When any two "wrapped" pieces of glass
are brought together and solder is run into the seam between
them, the effect is to build up an "I" section around each
edge of the glass. This is it; the lead cools
becomes solid contracts and "grips" the glass.
No glue, no chemical bonding. There is nothing beyond
what may be thought of as a tight grip on the glass.
For this reason cases should NEVER be held by or
suspended from the finial. The lead seaming will
stretch and the entire case will crash to the ground -
sooner or later. In the past when I have made cases
specifically to be hung, I have buried picture wire in the
How to look after your Wardian Case.
Not many rules. In a modern house a case set back from
the window will thrive. Sunlight should not be direct
or prolonged on a
southern or western facing window (in the summer at least)
otherwise everything inside the case will "cook up".
In the first instance do not over water. To
underwater is preferable. Remove any and all dead material
at the outset, pounce on any new dead material and remove
it. If any rotting is evident leave the door open on
the case for a few days to allow the soil to dry out then
close up without adding any more water. Do not feed.
Condensation on the inside of the glass first thing is
fine in the morning, it should quickly clear with
sunlight. This means that the placing is pretty much spot
on. Another sign of a successful placing is the
gradual development of a green growth on the inside of the
glass at and below soil level on the surfaces facing
the light .
Occasionally wipe the surface of the glass with lint free
cloth or kitchen towel, a touch of a clear window cleaner helps to
bring up a lovely smear free surface.
Bright green plants tend to set off
a case and vice versa . Here planted up with Adiantum
(also known as maidenhair fern) and helexine
soleriolii (aka "mind your own business" )
used as a simple ground cover.
More Wardian cases
For more examples of my work .....
"Jane Eyre" and " The Paradise"