Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The History Of Windows And How They Came Into Being

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are looking at the common glass window, which truth be told many of us take for granted, however, how different would our lives be if this unappreciated item was never discovered?

The first window was manufactured in Britain, yep it’s those Romans again, using broadsheet glass which an elongated balloon of glass was blown out, the ends were cut off, and the resulting product was split and flattened using an iron plate. However, this was poor quality, and because of this it was used to make leaded lights. Glad to hear this is one thing those Romans were not too good at!

Anyway, by the early 14th century this type of glass was almost obsolete, and people were importing higher quality glass from France. Britain only caught onto this technology in the late 17th century due to the ever rising prices of the imported glass.

Due to the high cost of glass, blown plate was rarely used in windows, and utilized more in mirrors and carriages.

In the late 18th century Britain was finally introduced to polished plate glass. This process was basically done by casting a sheet of glass on a table, then grinding and polishing it manually, however, due to the strenuous labor that was needed for this, some clever soul, probably fed up with all the grinding and polishing, decided to create a steam powered grinding and polishing machine. Thus saving time, and much pain.

Through this revolutionary new process, big panes of good quality glass could be produced, however, it was still an expensive process, and so only the affluent could afford this.

In 1834 the Germans decided to improve on this machine, so that larger sheets of glass could be manufactured at a fraction of the cost. Not many people know this but many years ago Britain decided to start taxing window glass, for what reason is still a mystery to many, however, in 1845 they decided to withdraw glass duty, which lead to an increased demand for glass, so prices actually dropped by 75%. Should anyone ever decide to visit Britain, they will see, mostly on the older houses, which many of the windows have actually been bricked up. People did this so they would not have to pay the tax.

In 1903 saw the birth of laminated glass, which incorporated a thin plastic film between two pieces of glass, which not only increased safety and security, but allowed people to incorporate larger windows, without the usage of strengthening dividing bars.

Double glazing was first introduced in the late 20th century, as a way to reduce utility bills by improving the energy efficient windows.

With the way technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, who knows what the future will bring, maybe glass will be abolished altogether, and a simple energy field will be used. Well stranger things are known to happen. Only time will tell.

No comments:

Post a Comment