Design Features+Options
Glass Pavers:
  • Glass prisms available in:
    • 1.5” or 2” round
    • 2.75” or 3.5” square (historic pavers)
  • Glass prism texture:
    • Clear or sandblasted top for an anti-slip walking surface
Cast Iron:

Choose from a variety of surface finishes including standard black patina or custom paint colors.  Vintage cast iron develops a protective film or scale on the surface which makes it initially more resistant to corrosion than wrought iron or mild steel.  

  • Blackened patina or custom color options
  • Fully engineered and tested to meet a live load of up to 600 lbs. PSF
  • Stamped engineered drawings are available for all 50 states and Canada
Vault Light Load Capabilities

Cast iron and glass paver panels are available in two different thickness for either commercial loading or sidewalk loading requirements.  Pedestrian loading cast iron panels are 1-5/16" thick, weighing approximately 38 pounds per square foot.  Cast iron panels engineered for sidewalk loading or high load panels are 4" thick weighing approximately 95 pounds per square foot.  

Cast Iron and Glass Pavers allow light into vaulted areas beneath the sidewalks of many cities around North America and Europe. Similar products have been in use since the mid 1800’s. We’ve improved on the historic strength and beauty of this old-world product. Our prefabricated cast iron panels are engineered to meet today’s structural loading requirements. Combine the multitude of glass prism options with the introduction of new colors and textures, for any walking surface where light transmission is desired. Common uses include: sidewalk vault lights, stair treads, risers, landings, bridges and deck lights.


Common Applications

  • + Bridges
  • + Deck Lights
  • + Pavement Lights
  • + Sidewalks Panels
  • + Stair Landings
  • + Stair Treads
  • + Vault Lights
  • + Wall Panels

History of Sidewalk Vault Lights

The original vault light glass design was invented by Thaddeus Hyatt in 1845.  Hyatt introduced the use of a large amount of small glass pavers set into the iron panels.  The glass was flat on the walking surface, but convex on the underside of the panel to disperse the light.  Before electricity had been available throughout the country, vault lights were used on ship decks and sidewalks to provide light below without using hazardous, open-flame lighting.  The first vault lights used cast iron framework with glass blocks placed into them. 

Throughout the 1860s until the 1930s, vault lights became exceeding popular in major cities such as New York, Chicago, and San Diego.  As time went on, it became more popular for glass blocks to be set into concrete panels for sidewalk lights.  The glass blocks provided a way for the light to move through the panel and into the basement and void areas under the sidewalk.  Vault lights, also known as sidewalk prisms or pavement lights, have evolved over time with the development of new technology and new glass pavers.  

Vault Light Replacement

Does your project have historical cast iron pavers?  These cast iron vault light panels are recognized as a suitable replacement to existing vault light panels by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.  GBA has installed and restored numerous vintage cast iron and glass block sidewalk panels across North America.  These modernized panels are a great solution to enhance the aesthetic while meeting today's structural requirements.  

Sidewalk Vault Lights Frequently Asked Questions

What is a vaulted sidewalk? pavement lighting

A vaulted sidewalk is a sidewalk that has an empty space beneath due to cities needing to raise their street levels over time.  Vaulted sidewalks became popular in cities like Chicago, New York, and Seattle.  Many buildings chose to relocate the main entrance to the new street level and leave a void space between the new sidewalk for storage.  Vault lights were installed to allow natural light to flow through glass pavers to light these areas.  

Who invented the vault light? pavement lighting

What is the definition of a sidewalk vault? pavement lighting

What are the lights on the pavement called? pavement lighting

What is a pavement light? pavement lighting