Windows 101 — The Origin of Windows

Ancient WindowNo, we’re not discussing the history of Microsoft Windows — like “remember how much better Windows XP was than Vista?” or “the reason Bill Gates is the 2nd wealthiest person in the world.” We’re actually taking a look at the history of “the window” — it’s origin and history — the very element of your residential and/or commercial property that Squeegee Pro takes great pride in cleaning to perfection.

The origin of the word window dates back to the Old Norse term vindauga, from vindr meaning “wind,” and auga, meaning “eye” — or, “wind eye.” The term is still used In Norwegian Nynorsk and Icelandic. In Swedish, the word vindöga refers to a hole through the roof of a hut.

The actual term of window originally referred to an unglazed hole in the roof, and was first recorded in the early 13th century and replaced the term ‘eagþyrl’, which literally means ‘eye-hole.”


But, the term window did not catch on with everyone. Many Germanic languages adopted the Latin term “fenestra” to describe a window with glass. We have the Scaninnavians to thank for the use of window in the English language as a result of use during the Viking Age.

The ealriest windows were what you would probably imagine — just simple holes in the wall. Eventually, we got around to covering these holes with aimal hide, cloth, or wood — the “beta” versions of curtains and shutters (to tie us back to the computer operating system). Eventually, windows were built with protection from the elements as well as transmitting light. Mullion glass windows were created, which comprised of multiple small pieces of glass framed together with lead. Paper, flattened pieces of translucent animal horn, and thinly sliced marble were also used.

It was around 100 AD in Alexandria that the Romans first used glass for windows. A quality cleaning from the likes of Squeegee Pro would have been of little benefit, as the glass windows had poor optical properties. Mullioned glass windows tended to the the choice among Europe’s well-to-do, while paper windows were the economic choice and widely used in ancient Asia. It wasn’t until the early 17th century when glass finally became common in the windows of ordinary homes in England.

Now, thanks to the perfection of modern industrial glass making processes, homes and business can have large floor-to-ceiling windows — all which need to be cleaned regularly to assure a bright and clear view out of your “eye-hole.”

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