The design of a window reflects the social hierarchy and status of a property. A window is a critical component of a building. Timber windows have been and continue to be well-liked by homeowners because of their multiple benefits. A lot has changed in the last 150 years. The shift from single glazed windows to double glazed windows and other features are a testament that, indeed, timber windows have changed over the last 150 years. Let’s get to know how these widely popular window types have evolved over the years.
The History of Timber Windows and Their Usage on Period Properties in the UK
The history of timber windows shows how important they were on period properties in the UK. Timber windows have a long history in the UK that dates back into the pre-sixteenth century. The sash timber windows, for instance, were invented in the 17th century and significant improvements recorded in the subsequent years. Casement timber windows came to the picture at the end of the 18th century during the Georgian era. Both sash timber windows and casement timber windows have had evolutions and changes over time, through different periods, to the present times. When delving deeper into the history of timber windows, you will be able to understand their evolution by examining their usage in different eras. The Victorian, Edwardian, and Georgian eras are particularly important when investigating the history of timber windows on period properties in the UK. It’s notable to note that it was during this period that single glazed sash timber windows became popular among home builders.
The Georgian Era
The Georgian era was the 1714-1837 period. Sash timber windows were a significant component of the Georgian era. During this period, sash windows were a symbol of fashion and style. This is because this type of window was widely used in most historic properties in England. The use of sash timber windows was popular because of aesthetic value. Additionally, there was a perception that the use of sash timber window was the most feasible about offering optimal ventilation during the rainy season.
The Victorian Era
The Victorian era holds a great deal of significance when discussing the history of timber windows. Windows played an integral role in the building of a Victorian house. This period (1837-1901) saw the continued rise of sash timber windows. Indeed, this type of window was the most popular during the Victorian era. The popularity of sash timber windows stemmed from the manufacturing of cheaper glass and the benefits associated with them. As a result, most of the buildings around London had this type of windows.
The Edwardian Era
The Edwardian era started in 1901. The popularity of sash timber windows was still so fresh during this period, but the reputation of casement windows was growing as well. Most of the Edwardian casement windows had floral patterns. Contrary to other periods, the glass in the upper compartment of timber sash windows in the Edwardian era was often separated by glazing bars. Of interest to note as well, the bottom compartment had a single pane.
The Use of Double-Glazed Windows on Properties
According to George Barnsdale, the Scots were the inventors of the double-glazed technology. History shows that it was during the Victorian era that the technology came to the fore. Traditionally, people relied on fire to keep their houses warm. Those who had larger houses had to endure a lot of cold because they needed more heat. The Scots believed that double glazed windows were the best solution to the afore-mentioned problem. The first mention of modern double-glazed windows technology was in the US in the 1930s. C.D Haven is the American inventor behind the modern version of double-glazed windows. He created the Thermopane, which popularized the idea of heat insulation. Essentially, it was a perfect solution to the problem that the Scots sought to solve. The technology increased in popularity in the 40s and 50s. The use of double-glazed windows became so popular that it got associated with lavishness and classiness during this period.
Despite double glazed windows becoming increasingly accepted, the technology only became popular in the UK in the 1970s. Before this time, homeowners didn’t have a modern way of making their homes’ energy efficient. In the same vein, double glazing costs were very high, thus forcing most homeowners in the UK to depend on other means, apart from using double glazed windows, to make their homes warmer during the winter season. However, in the 1970s, things became favourable and, the cost of materials fell. It was cheaper to use double glazed windows. The oil crisis in the 1970s also contributed to the popularity of double-glazed windows in the UK. The UK had to think of ways of shifting from over-reliance on oil because energy prices were too high during that time.
As a result of the crisis, homeowners opted to rely on double glazing to improve energy efficiency. Consequently, there was an increase in the number of double-glazed window manufacturing businesses to meet the rising demand. People saw these windows as being more beneficial because of the energy costs they managed to save. Today, the use of double-glazed windows on properties has grown tremendously. The thermal benefits associated with them have made homeowners consider them over the traditional single glazed sash windows.
As property owners are focusing more on energy-efficient solutions for their buildings, they are increasingly turning to double glazed timber windows as critical components of their homes. A critical analysis of the invention and usage of double-glazed windows shows that timber windows have changed significantly in the last 150 years. The shift from single glazed timber windows to the usage of double-glazed timber windows shows how window technology has been changing since the 19th century.
The Use of Modern Argon Gas and Fire Preventive Frames
The use of modern Argon gas is a fundamental addition to today’s window technology. Argon gas gained immense popularity in the window manufacturing industry because of its insulating capabilities. There are two qualities of argon gas that makes it an essential gas fill in timber window manufacturing. First, it reduces heat loss because of its lower conductivity levels. It also reduces convention loss since it is heavier than air. That is why window manufacturers fill it in between glass planes to improve energy-efficiency significantly. The use of modern Argon gas makes it possible to reduce the transfer of heat between the exterior and interior environment of a home. Traditionally, it was not possible to achieve quality and efficient levels of energy efficiency in homes because glass panes did not have the gas-filled in them.
According to Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 2018, the argon gas technology as an insulating material in modern-day windows started in the early 1980s.
Without a doubt, there is a huge difference and change between the effectiveness of timber windows that were in use in the 19th century to the windows produced today. In terms of energy-efficiency, there is a significant shift between the timber windows that were in use prior to the 20th century and those that are used today. Fundamentally, timber windows today have their glass planes filled with argon gas to enhance their insulating capacity. Before the discovery and use of argon gas as an insulating component, homeowners were using traditional methods of reducing the transference of heat. This is, indeed, a huge change that timber windows have gone through in the last 150 years.
Over time, timber has remained as a preferred material for window frames among property owners. For centuries, it has been the most common building material because of its characteristics that other materials do not have. One of the qualities that make timber stand out is its capacity to protect homes in case of a breakout of fire. Modern timber windows are fitted with attributes that slow down the burning process of fire. Unlike other window materials like UPVC, timber frames provide the much-needed resistance to prevent the advancement of fire. Most modern properties have timber frames as their window construction material because they can slow down the advancement of fire. Nowadays, having learned the imperative nature of timber windows, homeowners are opting for them to offer the fire preventive measures they are capable of.
It’s without a doubt that timber windows have changed significantly in the last 150 years. The single glazed timber windows that were popular in the 18th and 19th century have been widely replaced by the double-glazed timber windows. The energy efficiency of double-glazed windows has made them so popular on properties. The use of Argon as a gas fill has also played a significant role in providing the much-needed insulation to retain heat inside a home. Here are average prices expected in the making of timber windows on a period property in the UK. According to Windows Guide UK, A 600 x 900 mm ground floor casement window costs £850 – £950. A 500 x 500 mm sash timber window costs £550 – £625. With these prices, a Period property can have a top-end window installed today. From the discussion above, it’s evident that timber windows have had major changes and improvements in the last 150 years.