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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.

A GLASS BY ITSELF
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....

Chances are you've seen Vitrolite or its competitors, even though you may not know it. The smooth, shiny tile, often black or dark green, was used on bakeries, jewelry shops and other businesses years ago.


 Thanks to a program the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration pushed during the Depression, Vitrolite and similar finishes popped up on storefronts in small towns across America as well as in downtowns and neighborhoods in large cities. The program provided funding to small business owners to modernize their buildings using the glass tile.


 St. Louis is a treasure trove of homes with Vitrolite bathrooms and kitchens. During the 30s, it was considered a sleek, ultramodern application for finer homes here, Dunn said.
 Dunn suggests that Vitrolite's popularity here stemmed from how well-connected the local distributor was.


 "Who was selling Vitrolite was the Hadley Dean Glass Co. (of St. Louis), and Mr. Hadley was married to Augie Busch's sister," [August A. Busch Jr., known as "Gussie" here but as "Augie" nationally] Dunn said.


 "I always tell people I think there's a socio-economic situation here. Mr. Hadley was out there partying with whoever was building all these homes in this belt in the '20s and '30s. It was a 'use-my-Vitrolite-I'll-give-you-a-good-deal' situation."


 Dunn calls his relationship with Vitrolite synchronicity, a type of serendipity that leads him to find usable Vitrolite in unexpected places at unexpected times.


 That serendipity brought him to Vitrolite in the first place. It was 1980, and he was working as a general contractor doing mostly residential work.


 While repairing a Vitrolite bathroom in the Central West End, he met Don Caviecy, a longtime Vitrolite man. "Don and I liked each other," Dunn said. "He said he'd be retiring some day, so I kept that thought in mind."


 Nearly 10 years later, when Dunn began to move from general contracting to tile work, he remembered Caviecy. The two worked together for six years, until Caviecy retired last year.


 Dunn is aware of just how small a niche the Vitrolite market is. "Do you know candles are a $3 billion a year business in this country?" he asked. "I know people who are in foam board to make signs and print on. That's a $100 million business. That's a pretty small niche compared to candles. Now I'm in a niche that's probably $100,000 a year.
 "I'm in a microniche," he said with a laugh. But it's a niche he's happy to have. "A lot of this is just my interest in preserving what's out there, he said. "I've heard from people that I'm the only one in the country really doing this kind of work full-time," Dunn said.
 

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