Home Improvement History Lessons: Windows

Posted on January 5, 2018 in Window Installation

From the earliest homes to today’s, windows have been an important incorporation into home design. They not only let in beautiful, natural light, but they also allow for ventilation and fresh air. Window replacements and repairs are one of our specialties and here, we look at the history of windows:

B.C. Years & Middle Ages

The first windows in the 13th century B.C. were simple openings in the roof in order to let in light during the day and let smoke from the chimneys out. When it would rain or snow, homeowners found a way to cover the openings with cloth, animal hide, or wood, but over time, people began to fashion shutters that could easily open and close for protection.

During the Middle Ages, glassmakers began to experiment with designs for windows in order to maintain the input of natural light while also protecting family members from the elements. Because glass was largely hand-blown, only wealthier families and those of nobility could afford them and the technique left the glass uneven with very low clarity.

16th-19th Centuries

By the mid-16th century, window glass became increasingly common. Once a new technique called machine-drawn glass was invented, panes could be crafted evenly so that homeowners could enjoy natural light and see outside. During the late 17th century, weighted sash windows were invented so that you could open the window and it would stay open.

Once industry began to take shape in the mid-19th century, window and frame units were built in factories instead of on site and were able to be shipped to architects to be incorporated into homes.

Early- and Mid-20th Century

Up until the 1900s, windows were largely made from wood. However, the Kawneer Company and the Bessemer process became popular, so windows were made available for homeowners in steel and aluminum materials.

This time was also when energy savings began to take precedence and manufacturers promoted things like storm windows to help save on coal usage. After World War II, insulated glass hit the window market and window replacements offered a more comfortable home environment and better year-round energy costs. In addition, modern glass was introduced. This glass was built with uniform thickness and gave windows the beautiful clarity we know today.


Today’s window offerings have advanced even further and now we can choose anything from single-paned to quadruple-paned glass along with insulation that creates an energy-efficient barrier. We can also choose windows in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from the classic double-hung windows to awning windows to casement windows and more.

If you’re interested in window replacement, contact our experts to find out what we have to offer.

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