For nearly as long as homes have existed there has existed windows. The earliest examples utilized no glass mind you but people have always wanted a way to see outside and desired a mechanism that brings light into their homes. Windows have also been used as security and privacy devices as well. In this article we’ll take a look at the history of windows, how they’ve been used, and the many different types that have existed over the centuries.
Holes In The Wall
Historians have discovered that the earliest windows where nothing more than holes in a homes walls. Many of these were asymmetrical and featured odd shapes which were indicative of the poorly made tools people used in this era. The remains of ancient homes featuring hole in the wall windows have been found all over the globe and are largely believe to have been used mainly to see what was happening outdoors. Of course these holes in walls offered nothing in the way of protection be it from weather or from intruders.
The 13th Century
The earliest use of the word “window” is said to have occurred in the early part of the 13th century. In those days however it was spelled “vindauga” and meant “wind eye”. As the centuries past the world slowly evolved into the spelling and pronunciation we are familiar with today. It was around this time that windows began to be cut into familiar geometric shapes and covering where introduced. These first coverings where made from beads, animal skins/furs, and even paper. These were used mostly to keep weather out and for privacy but did little to stymie pests or intruders.
The Introduction Of Glass
It was the Roman’s who first began using glass in their windows around 100 AD. These first glass windows were colored brown and made from flattened jars. These windows were very thin and as such were prone to easy breaks. These early glass windows did offer Romans a good deal of privacy though and kept a good deal of sunlight and heat out of their homes. Over time the Roman’s refined their techniques in Alexandria Egypt and eventually started using clear albeit lumpy windows.
Complexity And Design
Throughout the middle ages and the renaissance era engineers honed their window making skills and improved techniques to the point that they were able to begin constructing large glass windows as well as heavily decorated windows. It was also during these times that window glass was made sturdier, thicker, and multiple panes were introduced. Keep in mind that although techniques and technology improved in these times, glass windows and extravagant windows were reserved only for the rich and royalty.
Glass For Everyone
Glass windows didn’t become common place in homes until the later 19th century when production and technology advancements made windows rather inexpensive to produce en mass. Even then the poor and middle class rarely had anything but single pane windows made from the cheapest glass available. Still, this is a far cry from the holes in walls people once called windows and they were effective at keeping pests, water, and heat out of a home.