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A Trip Down Memory Lane: The History of Sash Windows

history of sash windows

It is not often that we give much consideration to the history of our homes. But behind every aspect of our properties there is a fascinating tale that tells a story of innovation, historic influences, and changing customer demands that have shaped the way that we build our homes and live our lives.

The story behind the windows on our homes is perhaps one of the most fascinating tales, and in particular, that of the history of sash windows. The unique design of sash windows, gives many benefits to a property; from draught-proofing, to energy-saving, and even noise reduction.

You can see the beautiful and varied designs of sash windows the length and breadth of the UK, on both modern properties and traditional homes alike.

From the great rooms of the 13th century elite, to the aftermath of The Great Fire of London and into the era of technological advancement: join us as we explore the origins, development, and transformation of sash windows – a true trip down memory lane.

history of sash windows

Of course, glass was a hot commodity; expensive, difficult to make, and reserved primarily for royalty and the wealthy. A big turning point in glass production and legislation came in 1666, with an unlikely influencer, The Great Fire of London. To prevent the spread of fire in the future, all timber frames were required to be recessed

The Origins of Sash Windows

Arguably, the history of sash windows should be starting around about the 16th century, but there was a little development before that which really shouldn’t be forgotten. After all, it was the 13th century that the word ‘window’ actually originates from, a combination of the Old Norse words ‘wind’ and ‘eye’.

The story starts in the 13th century, in the beautiful rooms of the European elite.

This is where sash windows first started to make an appearance, although in the rather rustic from of wooden shutters. These windows would be completely unrecognisable when pitted against the modern systems you see in the UK today, but nonetheless, was a step up from a hole in the roof or wall

16th Century: A Call For Safer Windows

It isn’t until the 16th century that a rudimentary form of glazed sash window starts to appear and replace the wooden shutters. This is an important beginning to the main history of sash windows. These were limited in function, with just a horizontal slide.

Window development didn’t move quickly, with a vertical slide not being introduced until the next century.

Of course, glass was a hot commodity; expensive, difficult to make, and reserved primarily for royalty and the wealthy. A big turning point in glass production and legislation came in 1666, with an unlikely influencer, The Great Fire of London. To prevent the spread of fire in the future, all timber frames were required to be recessed.

history of sash windows

Moving into the 19th and 20th century, everything starts to change for sash windows, with the exception of their incredible popularity. Technology has advanced, and the processes for making windows has improved

Glass Windows – The Ultimate Sign of Wealth and Luxury

With the new changes required of houses, architecture started to look drastically different in the Georgian period. Sash windows led the way in modern window design, quite literally becoming a fashion statement; and the ultimate display of wealth.

With the window tax in operation, causing a lot of people to simply brick up their windows, sash windows remained a luxury for many years. Smaller panes became popular, partly attributed to the glass tax, which was enforced for almost a century.

Introducing a Touch of 19th Century Technology

Moving into the 19th and 20th century, everything starts to change for sash windows, with the exception of their incredible popularity. Technology has advanced, and the processes for making windows has improved.

Fashions changed between 6-panel and 4-panel windows, and many new features and functions were introduced. The history of sash windows saw some major developments; suddenly panes could be made larger, sash horns were adopted, and thinner glazing bars a possibility.

history of sash windows

From humble beginnings to an essential part of a modern home, sash windows have come a long way. After so much development in the last few years, it will be exciting to see what direction the next step of the history of sash windows goes in

The Next Chapter in Sash Window History

The 21st century has brought in a new era for window design; revolutionising sash windows to deliver unparalleled performance in design, durability, thermal performance, and security.

Modern sash windows may have ancient ancestors, but the sheer technological development that has occurred even in the last 10 years, is outstanding.

Today, you can have your new sash windows fitted with superior locking mechanisms, high-performing triple-glazing, and effective multi-chamber drainage systems. The windows of today are no longer just designed to keep out the rain whilst still providing a way to vent a house; they offer spectacular performance, innovative designs, and exceptional energy-efficiency.

The history of sash windows has paved the way from the revolutionary products we have on the market today; products that our team at Home Logic are so proud to be able to offer our customers.

From humble beginnings to an essential part of a modern home, sash windows have come a long way. After so much development in the last few years, it will be exciting to see what direction the next step of the history of sash windows goes in.

If you’re considering sash windows for your home, or want to upgrade your window system with triple-glazing, then don’t hesitate to contact our expert team today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or, alternatively, by simply clicking the button below!