by Tim Athan
Q. What is Carrara glass, and are there examples in Ann Arbor?
A. Carrara glass is a trade name for a colored "structural glass" that was developed about a century ago as an inexpensive substitute for marble. Smooth and shiny, with strong colors, it became a favorite of Art Moderne designers, who molded it into the style's streamlined shapes.
Carrara glass's popularity peaked during the Depression years. New Deal programs, in combination with a "Modernize Main Street" competition sponsored by the Architectural Record and glassmaker Libbey-Owens-Ford, led to many storefront applications. Today, historians prize the examples that remain and provide tips on how to preserve them.
The only local example we know of is Seyfried Jewelers's stylish black glass facade at 302 S. Main. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago a sidewalk snowplow bashed the front of the store, and all of the Carrara glass had to be replaced. The replacement was done so well that few have noticed.
Know of other Carrara glass in the area? Email email@example.com
[Originally published in January, 2013.]
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