A Brief History of Windows
To some, windows may seem like an obvious part of any building’s design. They seem like something that has always been in existence, in the same shape and with the same materials as the ones that you see today. Sometimes they’re of unique colours or shapes and sometimes they’re in interesting spots, but they’ve always been just as they are now, right?
Wrong. We know that we’re a little bit more passionate about the topic, given that the company was founded and has evolved to provide our valued customers with a better view. That means that our gossip sessions around the office are around topics like sustainable window materials, caring for your windows so that they last forever, and installing them properly so that your space is beautiful and comfortable. These are the topics that inspire us to do our best work every day and to continue to only improve. That’s why we have this blog – the perfect platform to impart our wisdom to the community of customers that we respect and appreciate.
In order to look forward and to evolve, it’s imperative that we also look back at our history and what got us to the point that we’re at today. We’re kicking off a series of posts around the history of windows.
Let’s first talk about the word and where it came from. Its root is the Old Norse “vindauga”. “Vindr” means wind and “auga” means eye. Adjacent countries Sweden and Norway, called them “vindöga” meaning a hole through the roof and “vindu” where the link to the eye is no longer there.
Their purpose was functional. Cooking meant a lot of smoke in spaces that weren’t ventilated otherwise. Think about the last time you overcooked meat and the smoke alarm went off? Sure, it was probably a little smoky. Now multiply that by 100 and shrink your space about 90%. Holes in the roof above fires became quickly commonplace.
The Scandinavians may have given windows their name, but do you know what culture was the first to use glass? Like many of the other historical innovations that we depend on now, we have the Romans to thank for windows. The technology to cut and install glass windows is noted as being first seen in Alexandria around 100 AD. If you went to countries like China, Japan or Korea, you probably saw paper windows, widely used and both easy and inexpensive to produce.
If you lived in England, you didn’t see glass windows until the 1600s, prior to that, flattened animal horn was used. That’s an interesting visual to us as well, we’re glad that they evolved to use glass instead. In America, greased paper was the common material used and it wasn’t until the industrial process of plate glass making was completed, that floor-to-ceiling windows became a popular fixture in architecture.
Far more to come as we continue to explore the history of windows. Stay tuned for additional details and reach out to our team with any questions.