Rudy Collective, Historic York to host open house of stained-glass installations


Since the inception of Rudy Art Glass in 1892, the clientele and types of craftsmanship employed by its artisans have changed a lot, said co-owner Matt Mitchell at the Rudy Collective's gallery.

Rudy Art Glass first started in Pittsburgh and was established in York in 1906.

In its early years, the company produced stained glass, mostly for churches and homes, Mitchell said. Now, most of the company's pieces are architectural and go mostly to businesses all over the world.

To celebrate its history and raise money for Historic York and the Rudy Collective, the company will host an open house from noon until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. Tickets for the event are $15.

During the open house, participants will meet at the Rudy Collective Gallery, 25 E. Philadelphia St., to receive an informational booklet and map and can take a walking tour of places around the city that feature work by Rudy Art Glass.

Among the locations on the tour are Asbury United Methodist Church, Trinity United Church of Christ, Cavalry United Methodist Church, St. Mary's Immaculate Conception BVM Church and York Water Co.

Participants also can take a look at drawings of designs for stained-glass windows from the company's archives.

The large drawings, most of which are graphite, are displayed pressed between two panes of glass and hung by wire. They will be for sale.

Changing methods: Many of the drawings have been rolled up and packed away in boxes for decades — some for around 100 years, Mitchell said.

Some of the drawings have little notes in each section to determine what color glass will be used.

Mary Anne Bacas, a member of the board of Historic York who is helping to organize the event, said she gained an appreciation for the difficulty of making stained glass after taking a class.

"The workers were incredibly skilled," she said.

After the pieces were cut, which is difficult in itself, they had to be pieced together and soldered, she said.

Mitchell and several other members of the collective still know how to create and repair old-fashioned leaded glass, which buckles over time, he said, but the company's new architectural work must be more durable to meet safety codes.

When the company goes for the stained-glass look these days, the parts of a piece that would previously have been filled with lead are made from laser-cut sheets of steel, Mitchell said.

Finished pieces are laminated.

"Now it can take a hit from a baseball. That's how we used to test it, back in the day," Mitchell said.

Favorites: Bacas said her favorite historic site with Rudy stained glass is Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Chapel, at 129 S. Beaver St., which she said dates back to 1907 and features onion domes.

The chapel was built as a synagogue, she said, so the stained-glass windows have Jewish motifs rather than Christian ones.

Terrence Downs, a volunteer with Historic York who is also helping to organize the event, said he grew up going to a church that had Rudy windows.

His home church is First Moravian on North Duke Street, and he's currently involved with First St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church on West King Street, which also has Rudy glass.

"There's just an immense wealth of Rudy glass in our community," he said.

To buy tickets for the tour, go to or stop by Rudy Art Glass, 15 E. Philadelphia St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday or 9 a.m.-noon Friday.

Tickets are also available at the Rudy Collective Gallery beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of the event.

— Reach Julia Scheib at