Just how old is double glazing ?

window frame

If you have every wondered just how old double glazing is then you may be interested in this article. Today the term Double Glazing is synonymous with cheap, shoddy, imitation windows that have blighted our housing stock. Because of this devastation respected authorities such as Historic Scotland, Historic England and numerous local planning departments consider Double Glazing, to be an inappropriate, modern invention, destined to damage the aesthetics of sensitive buildings.

Well you may be surprised to learn that whilst the excellent properties of glass have been known for centuries, we can now celebrate over 150 years of sealed units. The term double glazing was established when Thomas D Stetson in August 1865 patented the ideal that two sheets of glass separated only with a wooden stick and tar, would significantly increase the warmth of a room and reduce the heat loss by 50%

Double Glazing is principally, two sheets of glass held adjacent to each other but separated by a spacer and sealed around the perimeter to prevent moisture penetrating inside the cavity of air or nowadays gas. Interestingly reading the patent the reasons for the his invention then are much the same as those that exist today, in that

“it has long been known that doubling or trebling the glass has the effect of very greatly retarding the escape of heat from apartments and also of deadening the sound due to movements in the streets”

It seems from reading the patent that he acknowledges others had previously recognised the same benefits that two sheets of glass provided, however they were not joined as one unit (his invention). Furthermore he knew that making a sealed unit “off site” would allow glass to be cleaned more effectively and the unit manufactured with far better consistency than previously seen.

Why then is there so much resistance to harvesting the thermal benefits of multi layered glass units and reducing the noise from the movements in the streets below?

Is double glazing still a modern idea.

Seems the main objection lays with the change of appearance and that double glazing is still considered far to modern an invention, to warrant consideration.

Admittedly two sheets of glass, especially modern float glass, will reflect light differently to a single piece of drawn or blown glass, this will reduce the aesthetic appeal of abuilding; however our world now demands that we conserve far more energy than ever before, that we consume less fossil fuel and decrease carbon emissions.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the way our forefathers sought to reduce heat loss and put the needs of homeowners and energy savings ahead of minor changes in buildings aesthetics.

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