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The Historical Evolution Of The Sash Window

By Thomas Clinton

The historical development of the sash window reaches back into the annals of history, right to the era of the sixteenth century. One of the first depictions of such a window can be seen in the 1658 painting called The Milkmaid, a work by renowned Dutch artist, Vermeer. Ham House sports the earliest example of sash windows dating from the same period.

It is believed that this type of window was first designed by Robert Hooke in England. Some believe that sash windows originated in France and then traveled to Britain via Holland and that its extreme popularity has identified it with the masses as a purely English invention. The true facts have long since been lost, but the beauty and elegance of the sash window lives on.

Regardless of the facts which are now lost in history, these windows remain a timelessly elegant addition to any home. The Yorkshire Light window, as it was first called, was created using two glass panes, each with double rows of glass that were then suspended in a wooden frame. The weight of the frames in later designs led to the creation of a pulley, rope and sash weight system to move them.

It is believed that the popularity of these windows throughout Britain at the time can be attributed to their extensive use by an architect who gained favour with the royal family. Sir Christopher Wrens was asked to design the Whitehall Palace, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court, all three of which make extensive use of these types of windows.

Popular fashions endorsed by the royals were immediately embraced throughout the nation and so it was only natural that people became enamoured of designing their homes with the use of sash windows. The Georgian era birthed the double sash which sported two movable window panes.

This was due to the fact that both panes could be adjusted, allowing a flow of cool air in through the bottom and heated air out through the top. This was a blessing during the hot summer months and allowed for fresh air to enter a room during the winter without rain coming in through the open window due to its innovative design. They lost popularity during the First World War.

Hand crafted using time consuming and labour intensive methods along with costly materials meant that the design was not conducive to the industrialization process. Industry was focused on creating advanced weaponry and machinery and the sash window had no room in this sort of an environment.

Looking for comprehensive info on the historic developement of sash windows ? Get the low down now in our complete double glazed wooden windows guide.

categories: business,careers,windows,double glazing,sash windows,house,home,construction,architecutre,property,history,builders

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Clinton, Thomas "The Historical Evolution Of The Sash Window." The Historical Evolution Of The Sash Window. 7 Oct. 2010. 31 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Clinton, T (2010, October 7). The Historical Evolution Of The Sash Window. Retrieved December 31, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Clinton, Thomas "The Historical Evolution Of The Sash Window"

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