Windows: Panes in The Butt
by Marjorie Dorfman
Page 2

Little is known of glass making between the decline of the Roman Empire and 1200 AD. By 1291 an elaborate guild system of glassmakers had been developed in Venice, Italy. All glassmaking was transported to the island of Murano, both as a fire precaution and to control the secrets of glass making. (The artisans could talk, but they couldn’t swim too well.) This was the beginning of the Second Age of Glass. The Venetian perfected Cristallo glass, a nearly colorless transparent glass, which could be blown to extreme thinness and into almost any shape.
window light
By the late 1400s glassmaking had become important in Germany and other northern European countries. During the 1500s, many Venetians went to northern Europe in the hopes of a better living. They made Venetian style glass and by the mid 1600s the glass industry flourished. The first glass factory in America was founded in Jamestown, Virginia in the early 1600s.The glass industry in the United States actually began in 1739 when Caspar Wistar built a glass-making plant in Salem County, New Jersey. Many other companies soon followed suit, producing large quantities of inexpensive glass, both pressed and blown.

In 1668, in France, a new process was developed for the production of plate glass, principally for use in mirrors. Molten glass was poured onto a special table and rolled out flat. After cooling, the glass was ground on large round tables and then polished with felt disks. The end result was a flat glass with good optical transmission qualities. When coated on one side with a reflective low melting metal, high quality mirrors could be produced. This process predominated until the mid-nineteenth century. By the 1800s there was a great demand for window (crown) glass. Blowing a glass bubble and spinning it until it was flat created crown glass. After the 1890’s machinery was developed for the precise, continuous manufacture of sheet glass. Artists who usually worked in other media began designing in glass. There was a renewed interest in stain glass. Louis Comfort Tiffany and John Lafarge were both trying to develop a wider range of visual effects for glass, although neither invented an easier way to clean it!

washing windowsAnd so where are we today? We have all of this information and, as far as I am concerned, my windows are no cleaner than they were when I started writing this article. Windows are like in-laws and unwanted relatives, I suppose, and should be accepted for their over all worth and intentions. They let sunshine in (windows, not necessarily relatives), and I suppose we should all be grateful for that, if nothing else. Windows also force tests of reality, as I cannot deny who is walking up my path to give me some agita as I can see the perpetrators clearly (or not so clearly depending on whether or not I cleaned the windows.) I suppose acceptance is the best policy. (Honesty and goodness certainly have nothing to do with it.) I guess the next thing to do is take a deep breath, pick up the phone, (without cleaning it) call your broker and buy some stock in Windex!

Did you know . . .
We found everything for tools we needed at this site, and savings, too!

Tool King

Hundreds of dollars in savings when you buy Package Deals at
Tool King

Dirty Remarks

Clean is good. Cleaning is not.
Kathryn Hammer, Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Housecleaning is like Chekov; it starts slow and then tapers off.
Henry Alford, The New York Times

Click to print
Click for a printer friendly version of this article.