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January 23, 2023

The History of Glass Windows

Light exposure is essential to happiness, emotional health, and overall wellbeing. Before the invention of glass, the earliest windows comprised simple openings in roofs that admitted light during the day before progressing to include animal hide, cloth, or wood coverings. These protected the inhabitants from weather elements while being translucent, allowing trace elements of light to illuminate homes. Learn more about how glass has been used through the years as we explore the history of glass windows.

The Beginning of Glasswork

The first glass creations were found in nature. Naturally occurring volcanic glass, or obsidian, was used to fashion basic ornaments and spear tip weapons or serve as forms of currency in the prehistoric age. The first existence of man-made glass can be traced back to 3500 BC.  

Glass is manufactured from natural raw materials like sand, soda ash, and limestone that are melted at high temperatures to form a liquid. It is then manipulated and moulded into different shapes before cooling into hardened glass structures. The introduction of the blowpipe was pivotal in the construction of glass containers. However, the glass produced in this period contained a high level of impurities and was mostly used for fashioning jewellery and vessels. Glass windows had not yet been invented.

The First Windows

The history of the first glass windows began by the end of the 1st century AD, as glass material became commonly available throughout the Roman Empire. The Romans were the first to make window glass panes. Blown cylindrical shapes were flattened out into thinner sheets, serving as the building pieces for window creations. However, this manufacturing process meant that windows were limited to a small size of uneven thickness and weren’t completely transparent. 

Stained glass gained popularity across Europe as Christianity spread in the 4th century and was used to create biblical images by joining different coloured pieces of glass together.

Modern Glass Windows

The history of glass windows and innovative experiments have culminated in the revolutionary window-making techniques we use today. The float glass-making process was introduced in the 20th century and remains the industry standard for making glass windows. Molten liquid glass is poured and spread out on a bed of molten tin, paving the way for large panes of unblemished glass devoid of flaws to be created.

Today, we see many innovative window glass variations like retrofit double glazing and tinting, together with different framing choices that you can customise to suit your home and the climate.

Open a Window to the Present with Atlas Glass

Enjoy the many benefits of modern technology and innovation with Atlas Glass, Auckland’s double-glazing experts. Retrofit double-glazing features two or more panes of glass spaced and hermetically sealed, creating a layer of air in the middle. A high-quality and attractive window solution, this method provides insulating qualities for an energy-efficient home with cost-effective minimal maintenance. Talk to our experienced team for a free consultation and advice on how retrofit double-glazed windows can work for your home today! 

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