In Chicago, we have thousands of stained glass windows in our early 20th century Historic Chicago Bungalows. Many of them contain double-sided gold mirrored glass (two pieces of thin gold mirror in a single came). The gold is not gold leaf - it does not have leaf lines and it is backed with a layer of silver.
When I started Stained Glass Ltd. in 1985 I couldn't find anyone who knew how to gild glass without using gold leaf.
Eventually I heard about Rick Glawson, a master sign painter in California. Rick had noticed that some antique signs had been made with seamless gold backed with silver. Early copies of Signs of the Times magazine led Rick to rediscover a 19th Century technique for chemical or solution gilding on glass. Sign painters called it Angel Gilding to distinguish it from leaf gilding.
My suspicions about the gold in Chicago's stained glass were confirmed when Frank Drehobl, the owner of Chicago's oldest stained glass studio told me that, as a boy in his father shop, he had poured "liquid gold" on heated glass to gild it. The process he described was just the same as Rick's.
I bought Angel Gilding supplies from Rick until his sudden death in 2003. When his family and friends declined to take over the chemical side of his business, I turned to my husband for help. Mike had received a Master's degree in chemistry from Oxford University before going into computers. He left the computer business and together we founded AngelGilding.com to make mirroring chemicals and techniques available to glass artists everywhere.
We dedicate this site to Rick Glawson
and all 'Keepers of the Craft'
Mike and Sarah King