Part of the beauty of stained glass is its fragility. But stress tends to build up at certain points in the window, where the thin glass bends inward or outward. It's no surprise, then, that earthquakes produce plenty of business for stained-glass artisans, who put the pieces back together.

Stained-glass windows may last longer with shock absorbers devised by a 73-year-old company in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Rohlf's Studio Inc. recently completed work on windows for the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City. Set between the windows' steel frames and the stone walls are rubberlike neoprene blocks and cushioning foam tubes. Rohlf's has designed a similar system for a 6,000-square-foot stained-glass wall in the Kasugai Seibu shopping center in Nagoya, Japan. It has survived three modest earthquakes since it was built 16 months ago.

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