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Windows are a simple enough invention: A hole in the side of a building with a seal or cover for insulation and security. But despite these humble beginnings, windows actually have a complex history, and they’ve evolved in countless different ways in the centuries that people have been using them. In fact, windows are almost as old as society itself!

The earliest windows were little more than holes in the walls of buildings. The first improvement to windows were coverings made of animal hide, cloth, wood, and eventually, shutters that could open and close. These windows allowed light to enter buildings, but they were not well-insulated and not very secure.

The first people to use glass in windows were the Romans. The windows they developed were thick pieces of blown glass that were rolled flat and held in place by wood or metal frameworks, although the glass was crude and not very easy to see through. Some of the windows were even glazed as a way of keeping heat inside.

Outside of Rome, other cultures used different materials for their windows. In parts of the Far East, especially Japan, paper windows commonly known as shoji were very popular, and in Russia, a thin, translucent mineral called muscovite mica was used as a cheaper alternative to glass. Many builders in the Middle East did not typically glaze their windows due to the region’s warm climate, where there was little need to keep heat inside of buildings.

In Europe, however, Rome’s influence meant that glass would be the most popular material used in windows. The Middle Ages and Renaissance saw the popularization of very elaborate stained glass windows, which were made by adding coloring agents to glass and then placing small glass pieces into lead frames, called cames, in order to produce an image. Windows like these were prominent in churches and palaces but not common homes due to their high costs.

In the 17th century, vertical sliding-sash windows and double-hung windows were developed, and they soon became one of the most popular window styles in the world. The advent of the Industrial Revolution made windows like theses more available as they became more durable and less expensive thanks to new manufacturing processes.

Today, window manufacturers and installers like Windows USA have this rich history to draw on as we work toward our goal of offering you the best windows possible!

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