Humans and their ancient relatives have been using knife-like tools for over two and a half million years, and they are thought to be one of the oldest tools used by humans. Originally, they were made from rock, bone, flint, or obsidian, but knives have evolved over time along with technology, and now there are knives designed for an array of different purposes, with variations in blade and handle design, size, shape, and material.
Lead knives have been developed specifically to be used in came glasswork, for cutting and bending lead came strips. Stained glass and leadlight panels are joined with came sections. Traditionally this came has always been lead, although now it may be made from zinc, brass or copper as well.
The first person to have written about the craft of joining glass using lead came was a Benedictine Monk. His pseudonym was Theophilus Presbyter and he was a glass worker around early 12th century. He wrote three volumes of books about various medieval art techniques called ‘Schedula diversarum artium’ or ‘De diversis artibus’
A brief history of came glasswork
In English history, references to stained glass date back to around the 7th century. By the 12th century it had developed into a refined art form. It was used almost exclusively for the windows of churches and other religious buildings. Stained glass was illuminated art. Rather than a window to see out of, it was designed to control the light that came through it.
Stained glass art flourished in England from the 12th century until the Reformation of the Church in the 1540s, when a change in religious attitudes began to challenge the need for sacred art. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, although stained glass was being produced, the art deteriorated and many skills were lost.
In the 19th century, there was a resurgence in the craft and people began to try to rediscover the techniques used by medieval glaziers. There was a Gothic revival in came glasswork. Around this time, it became popular for leadlights, or stained glass panels, to be installed in homes and other non-religious buildings.
Stained glass and leadlights can be seen in windows, ceilings and doors, as well as other glazing panels, in many historic buildings. Modern use of came glasswork includes producing three-dimensional objects, such as sculptures and lampshades, as well as flat panels.