Monday Window – 40
Rain Glass Window
This old window from a historic building in Savannah, Georgia, made me contemplate windows and glass and their history. A bit of internet searching confirmed that windows are as old as buildings. Buildings might not be the right word for the earliest human shelters that were a bit more solid than just some some branches tied together. Leaving a hole for light to get in wasn’t much of a discovery, putting the hole on the side, so not nearly as much rain would come in, might have been.
So windows go back to before the dawn of history. Glass, on the other hand, goes back just some three thousand years. Glass used to keep out the critters and the elements on windows is only about two thousand years old. Even then it was extremely rarely used for windows in the next thousand years. Making flat and clear glass was a technique that took a long time in coming. Glass did catch on in big ways in the form of small panels, often round or diamond shaped, and combined into larger windows. Stained glass windows in public buildings, especially churches, are still magnificent examples of window art starting from about a thousand years ago.
Only about two hundred years ago did glass technology achieve flat glass in larger sizes. To make it smooth and even it had to be worked and polished on both sides. Clearly that added expense and cost. Leaving the glass with ripples and patterns gave us the type of glass shown in the photo here. In the last hundred years float glass, and glass manufacturing in general, advanced immensely. Nowadays we are surrounded, almost literally so, by flat, clear, and optically smooth glass in huge sizes. “Rain glass” is now a higher cost specialty product.
© 2016 Ludwig Keck