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17th Century Windows

While studying architecture in past centuries, it was interesting to discover that windows were not always necessities. For me, personally, I need at least one window in every room (sometimes two!) and a window in the kitchen over the kitchen sink. I even like windows in the bathroom as long as they are glass blocks. Windows are important architectural features, which give us insight to the social history of towns and villages. But window glass was actually more of a luxury until the 17th century. Medieval doors and windows were heavy and defensive in style and character. Heavy oak planks covered open spaces and were fastened with wooden pegs and iron studs to add strength. More specifically, windows were small openings used only to allow light into large medieval halls. During the 17th century, windows were made of small squares, rectangles or even diamonds or blown glass, held together with lead work and situated in holes within stone walls. Sliding windows were not developed until the early 18th century! Windows were also designed more horizontally than we are used to seeing these days, probably due to low ceilings or small buildings. Today, they are designed more vertically to make rooms seem bigger. They were considered a cherished personal property, apart from the rest of the home, and designed so that they could be removed and stored for safety reasons. Because of their uniqueness, homeowners should take care to preserve the windows in their historic homes. They should be regularly maintained, and particular care should be given to areas where water may stand or where decay may build up (such as window sills and bottom rails). Draught proofing and weather stripping can be effective to provide additional thermal and sound insulation without dramatically changing the look of the window. Have you owned a home adorned with historic windows?

Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 | Categories: History