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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Development of Sliding Sash Windows

Many homes feature sliding sash windows, and designers have used them in their buildings for years. However, no one really knows where the design originated from. Many experts believe that the window is related to the particular styled product that is known as the Yorkshire Sash. Yorkshire sashes open horizontally but were similar to modern sliding sash windows. Holland is another country that is referred to as the first country to use these windows. Others believe that the windows developed in France, and they point to the similarity of the French word chassis to the English sash. Whatever the case may be, there is sure to be more debate on the origin of these popular windows.

W. Horman is one of the first authors to address sliding sash windows. He particularly mentioned these products in his book Vulgaria that was written in 1589.

The popularity of the use of these windows can be traced to the last decades of the 17th century. At this time, the windows became popular in a number of major building projects. Architects included windows in both the Hampton Court and Kensington Palaces. The craftsman that designed these high profile sash windows was Thomas Kinward. He was a master joiner and was employed by Sir Christopher Wren. After Kinward's implementation, the sash window caught on fast and became common for all types of buildings. It is found in the most luxurious palaces, as well as common cottages around the country.

Homeowners and builders recognised the numerous benefits that sliding sash windows offered to homes that were built in rainy Britain. These windows were designed to let fresh air into a building without allowing rain to enter. The way the windows were manufactured also prevented them from rotting and expanding due to the humidity and rain.

Georgian architects wholeheartedly embraced the sliding sash window and began to use it in many of their buildings. Improvements were made that allowed both panes of glass to open. The manufacturing process for the glass was improved, and designers included larger windows in their projects. Designs began to include windows that were divided by the use of strips and moldings. This led to the popular design that features six panes of glass in the top window and six in the bottom.

During the days of Victorian architecture, designers and others began to experiment with the decorations that they could use with their windows. Elaborate moldings became common place. Many designers also began to include leaded glass that added to the aesthetic appearance of the window.

Britain buildings routinely included sliding sash windows during the first days of the 20th century. However, the beginning of the First World War saw a decline in the use of these products for several reasons. First, the large panes of glass had a tendency to break during bombing raids. The manufacturing process for glass also became cost prohibitive.

Modern improvements on sliding sash windows have again made them more popular in buildings. New materials are more durable and make buildings more energy efficient.

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