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News Coverage of Vitrolite and Tim Dunn

Vitrolite in the Headlines

Hoover Dam is latest job for St. Louis' Vitrolite Man
Tim Dunn restores the Vitrolite walls of the Hoover Dam's restrooms

Glimmers of History
Exterior of Bert's downtown drugstore back in high shine (Hastings, NE)

Early Vitrolite Corner Signs are Bringing New Collectors
Check out this article on Vitrolite from the September 2, 2013 issue of Antique Week featuring Vitrolite Specialist's Tim Dunn.

Coastland Apartments
The Vitrolite Specialist restores the bathrooms of this apartment building on the south side of Chicago.

Vitrolite Man Visits Ottawa
Tim Dunn restores the facade of a building on West Madison street in Ottawa, Illinois.

Owner Keeps Vintage Look for Local Building
Tim Dunn and crew restore the Vitrolite paneling on the Stumpp Building in downtown Mt. Vernon, IL.

Grand Theatre
Tim and Hank install a Vitrolite facade on the Grand Theatre in Grand Island. This is the largest Vitrolite installation since the 1950s!

Charleston Diner
Tim restores the Vitrolite facade of the Quarrier Diner in Charleston, West Virginia.

St. Louis Bathroom
Tim reinstalls a customer's Vitrolite in their newly renovated bathroom.

Apollo Theatre
The glass facade of this Oberlin theater is restored by Vitrolite Specialist.

Chicago Home
Tim Dunn restores the Vitrolite around a fireplace in Sherry Wiesman's Chicago home.

Alhambra Theater
Vitrolite replaced in the vestibule of the Alhambra Theater in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Maplewood Home
Tim Dunn installs Vitrolite in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room of a home in Maplewood, Missouri.

Hamilton's Storefront
Tim Dunn repairs damage to 80-Year-Old Black Glass on Storefront of Hamilton's in Brownwood, Texas.

Artcraft Theatre
The Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana was restored with various Vitrolite techniques by Tim Dunn.

The Future Antiques
South Saint Louis storefront remodeled with Vitrolite.

New Use for an Old Tile
Tim Dunn restores a home in Ladue, MO.

Pieces of the Past
Tim Dunn restores storefronts in Palestine, TX.

Makeover Aims to Light up Downtown
Tim Dunn restores the Zoe Theater in Pittsfield, IL.

Vitrolite finds itself once again in demand – an article from the Kansas City Star.

Rivoli Theatre
Tim Dunn in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, restoring the Vitrolite on the Rivoli Theatre.

Glass Rejuvenated at Former Gibson Building
Tim Dunn in Appleton, Wisconsin, working on the former Gibson building.

Vitrolite Needed for Deco Theater Refurb
Vitrolite restoration of the Augusta Historic Theatre.

Visiting Specialist Fixes Old-Style Glass
Tim in Mt. Vernon, Il.

Vitrolite: Glass and class of the past Art glass of yesteryear offers a beautiful choice....

The Oman of Vitrolite All about Tim Dunn's work with pigmented structural glass from the Old House Web....

A Modern-Day Vitrolite Mine by Edelene Wood West Virginia's Parkersburg-Vienna area was a well-known source of world famous Vitrolite glass manufacturers in the decades of 1907-1937....

Vitrolite Man Vitrolite, that opaque glass tile common in fine St. Louis ....

Gala at Gem Theatre Marks Cultural Renaissance The Gem's red and gold marquee, standing tough in defiance of decades of decay, was alive again...

Ritz Theater Director Travels West to Gather Ideas for Talladega Antique Talladega Executive Director George Culver has just returned from a four-week, 5,600-mile driving tour....

Luck Helps Man Find Microniche If you'd ask Tim Dunn to fill out a survey stating his profession, he'd have a problem.  You see, what Dunn does lies outside the box....

Tim Dunn and Vitrolite: Each One of a Kind During the 1920's through the 1940's Vitrolite was used on the exterior of many buildings, especially theaters, as well as....

Visitor to Help Salvage State Theatre Glass During the 1920's through the 1940's Vitrolite was used on the exterior of many buildings, especially theaters, as well as....

Vitrolite: Glass and Class of the Past

Art glass of yesteryear offers a beautiful choice for well-trained craftsman

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch March 15, 2004

By Theresa Tighe

Desperate St. Louis property owners have followed Tim Dunn's truck and flagged him down to beg him to fix the glass tiles in their kitchen or bathroom.

The glass is called Vitrolite. In the 1920s and '30s,the fashion-conscious used it sometimes inside, sometimes outside to give their homes and businesses a sleek modern look.

Dunn says he is one of a handful of craftsmen in the world working with Vitrolite today.

His clients support his claim.

"Our real-estate agent told us (Dunn) was the only one in the Midwest working with Vitrolite," said Amy Halpin, 37, who owns a house in the Holly Hills neighborhood. Her home has gleaming white Vitrolite tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. Halpin says that as she and her husband, Daniel Haag, looked in the neighborhood for a house, they noticed Vitrolite in many of the houses. "We thought it was really cool," she said.

Halpin said that in a similar fashion to her homeÕs art-glass windows, the Vitrolite was a selling point in the house, a Tudor Revival built in 1930.

Vitrolite is a pigmented plate glass, mechanically ground, that has a mirror finish with no distortion.

"Vitrolite is gorgeous," said Dunn as he wiped a spot of dirt off the maroon Vitrolite glass he had refurbished on The Medicine Shoppe, the old Hesselberger Drug, at Grand Boulevard and Juniata Street.

Several companies produced the glass tiles. Libby Owens Ford called its version Vitrolite. Pittsburgh Plate Glass tagged its product Carrara, and a Belgian company made a similar product called Belgique.

Dunn said the glass had not been made since 1947. If he needs a particular color, he relies on his private stash. Some eight tons of Vitrolite in many of its 3 colors -- ranging from white to black, includes such colors as suntan, jade and walnut agate. He is a clearing house for the glass that has been salvaged around the world. He stores it in an old confectionery turned into an office and warehouse in Maplewood.

Dunn said that he had named his business Vitrolite Specialist because Vitrolite had the best logo. "It's a little bit of marketing," said Dunn

Vitrolite was very popular throughout the St. Louis area. Dunn credits its impeccable connections.

Marie Hadley, the sister of August A. Busch, Jr., was married to one of the owners of the Hadley-Dean glass company. Dunn thinks people talked about the new product at parties and it became the thing.

The glass is in homes throughout the area, including those near Tower Grove Park, Carondelet Park, and Hampton Avenue. The glass also owed its popularity to one of President Franklin Delano RooseveltÕs programs during the Depression. The glass popped up on the inside and outside of movie theaters, drug stores and government buildings in cities large and small.

Dunn worked as a general contractor before deciding to specialize in Vitrolite. He also has been a Maplewood city councilman for the past 10 years.

He became involved with Vitrolite when he was redoing a bathroom as a general contractor in the earl 1980s. In looking for glass and expertise he needed, he met Don Caviecy, a St. Louis fireman who worked with glass in his spare time. From 1990 to 1997, Dunn was Caviecy's apprentice. When Caviecy retired in the late 1990s, Dunn said he became the "King of Vitrolite."

He now has three understudied. Two are in the St. Louis area. He met the third, Cait Whitson of Glasgow, Scotland, on the Internet.

Dunn thinks his granddaughter, Serina Redden, 16, summed up the appeal of Vitrolite best when she made a sign for him to display at rehabbers' conventions: "A thing of the past. A thing of beauty."