The History of Windows

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16th-century

Back in time

Did you know that glazed windows have only been around for about seven hundred years?

Before then, our ancestors used to get by with holes in the wall covered with cloth and paper.

 

Windows have evolved over the centuries – join us as we go back in time to see how they have changed over the years.


The Tudor dynasty and the ‘leaded light’

Before the sixteenth century, only the wealthiest homes could afford glazed windows. These ‘leaded light’ windows combined small pieces of glass with lead framing, a style that is still used for stained glass windows today.

As glass was scarce and lead was plentiful, it made sense to use as much lead as possible.

The economy improved and became more stable when the Tudor dynasty started, meaning that more affluent households could begin to use windows to show off how well-off they were. As a result, windows became larger and much more intricate. Stone and timber window frames became popular choices too.


A renaissance influence

The renaissance came to prominence in the seventeenth century, a time when European culture and art came to the fore. This period also had a strong influence on our buildings, leading to taller and narrower windows.

While leaded light windows fell out of fashion, timber frames and cross casements (windows that incorporate smaller panes of glass) became popular with homeowners.

In the 1770s, plate glass was introduced, meaning that households could have even bigger windows.

In the eighteenth century, sash windows became a fashionable fixture, and are still a well-loved choice with people today. Many of the wealthiest houses painted their sash window frames black and embellished them with gold leaf.

Experiments in style

The nineteenth century led to an explosion in creativity, as improved manufacturing methods and increased availability of materials meant increased ranges of plate glass were now available.

were now several different options including frosted, textured and colour glass.

The wonderful thing was that more ornate windows started to become mainstream for all buildings. Glazed windows became common for shop fronts, which had previously relied on shutters. Projecting windows, such as bay windows, became mainstream for houses.

In the late nineteenth century, three movements influenced the style of windows. The Gothic revival introduced wrought-iron window frames, the Arts and Crafts movement brought back leaded lights, and the Queen Anne style reintroduced sash windows.


Modern solutions for modern homes

The modernist style came into being in the early twentieth century, meaning that opulent window frames fell out of favour, with simple steel frames becoming popular with architects.

During WW2, people had to tape up their windows to prevent injury from broken glass during air raids. Afterwards, post-war construction of new housing saw an increase in available materials and many new house styles.

With developments in the aircraft industry during the war, aluminium became a viable alternative for window construction, alongside popular painted softwood frames.

The 70s and 80s started to see the rise of double glazing, with many people choosing to switch their timber windows and improve warmth in their homes. Aluminium and uPVC were popular options, as well as aluminium frames with timber inserts that were cheaper than their hardwood timber counterparts.

As lifestyles and tastes changed, the demand for narrow windows and large expanses of glass led to aluminium becoming the material of choice in modern building design.

High-performance glazing solutions have meant hat homeowners can now open up large areas of their homes using sliding or bi-fold doors. With the inherent strength of aluminium, it’s the perfect choice for modern living.

As lifestyles and tastes changed, the demand for narrow windows and large expanses of glass led to aluminium becoming the material of choice in modern building design.

High-performance glazing solutions have meant hat homeowners can now open up large areas of their homes using sliding or bi-fold doors. With the inherent strength of aluminium, it’s the perfect choice for modern living.