Just how old is double glazing, 50 years, 100 years, older?

August 14, 2015



Ever wondered how old double glazing is?


Well you may be surprised to learn that whilst the excellent properties of glass have been known for centuries, we can now celebrate over 150 years of sealed units, as the term double glazing was invented, then patented in the states, by Thomas D Stetson in August 1865.

It is generally accepted that it took nearly 100 years for the UK and Europe to adopt this technology.

Double Glazing is principally, two sheets of glass held adjacent to each other but separated by a spacer and sealed around the perimeter to prevent moisture penetrating inside the cavity of air or nowadays gas.

Interestingly the reasons for the invention as much the same as those that exist today, in that

“has long been known that doubling or trebling the glass has the effect of very greatly retarding the escape of heat from apartments and also of deadening the sound due to movements in the streets”

It seems from reading the patent that he acknowledges others had previously recognised the same benefits that two sheets of glass provided, however they were not joined as one unit (his invention). Furthermore he knew that making a sealed unit “off site” would allow glass to be cleaned more effectively and the unit manufactured with far better consistency than previously seen.

Why then is there such resistance to harvesting the thermal benefits of multi layered glass units?

Seems the main objection lays with the change of appearance and that double glazing is still considered far to modern an invention to warrant consideration. Undoubtedly, two sheets of glass, especially modern float glass, will reflect light differently and this may reduce the appeal of the building; however our world now demands that we conserve energy far more if we are to consume less fossil fuels and decrease carbon emissions.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the way our forefathers sought to reduce heat loss and put the needs of homeowners and energy savings ahead of minor changes in buildings aesthetics.

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