The Evolution of Windows in Ottawa and Around the World

The windows in Ottawa and around Canada all share one thing in common, and it’s not that they have glass panes. They all share a common history. While the United Kingdom and Europe were certainly not the only places windows could be found, the construction of homes in North America was influenced most heavily by these styles, and even our windows came here from England—quite literally. The actual panes of crown glass used in early settlement window panes were shipped from England, across the Atlantic, to the Americas as opposed to being made here. Today, energy-efficient windows are manufactured right here in Ottawa, in sizes that the pioneers and their British and French forebears would never have imagined!

C. 1400: Before Glass

Did you know that even after the glass pane had been invented, it was still not a universal amenity like it is today? Up to the 15th century, only the wealthiest households in England had glazed windows, which were made using small panes of glass called quarrels in a lattice pattern. The common folk had unglazed windows made of stone mullions. These were closed with wooden shutters, oiled cloth, or thin sheets of horn. That’s right—you had to choose between letting the light in, and keeping the warmth in! These may have been the farthest thing from energy-efficient windows ever.

1500-2000: Windows Grow

The evolution of windows in Europe and, subsequently, North America, was helped along by everything from the Tudor Dynasty to the Italian Renaissance and technological innovation. As glass became more abundant and widespread, the size of glazed windows grew. In the 17th century, window sashes began to move vertically—and single-hung windows were born, followed by double hung in the same century (as well as triple- and even quadruple-hung!). In the mid-19th century, cylinder blown sheet glass was invented, increasing the size of panes even further. Modern designs continued to evolve well into the twentieth century on both sides of the Atlantic and all over the world—including the windows on your Ottawa home!

Today: Energy Efficiency

In the 21st Century, Ottawa windows manufacturers focus largely on producing panes and sashes that waste less energy than those of decades and centuries past. New innovations—such as low-emissivity glass, double- and triple-glazing, spacers filled with inert argon gas, and air-tight sealed frames—have given rise to energy-efficient windows that let in plenty of light while allowing homeowners to control the flow of heat into and out of their home. Now, what started as a status symbol for the wealthy has become a way for millions of families to reduce their energy bill, while also making their home comfortable and environmentally-friendly.

If you want to see what the history of windows has led and experience the benefits of centuries of technological advancement for yourself, get in touch with a manufacturer or energy-efficient windows in Ottawa today!