September 21, 2017

Windows

Are you confused?Secure Glass Men At Work

Smart glass, electric glass, heated glass, energy efficient glass, tinted glass, toughened glass, tempered glass, insulated glass units, double glazed units, privacy glass, switchable glass, glass sliders (when did a sliding glass door stop being a window?), patterned glass, art glass, skylights . . . But who talks about WINDOWS anymore?

We seem to be losing the usage – let alone the true meaning of the word. Most people today are more likely to immediately connect the word to a popular computer operating system. Or the more romantic will connect it to the phrase ‘window to the soul, or heart’. Those who are busy would more likely reflect upon ‘a window of opportunity’. You see, a window is basically a hole in a wall. And because we can see through that hole, see beyond it, we ignore its significance and nomenclature. We look out, or through, and ignore the fact that there is a specifically constructed frame – perhaps made from wood, aluminium or even UPVC (Un-plasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride), and that frame holds a pane of glass over the hole. Even a ‘skylight’ is but a framed window in a roof – another hole.

Windows did not always hold glass however. If we go back far enough, the derivation of the word ‘window’ described only a hole in a wall to let air in or smoke out, and it would be shuttered in inclement weather. It was the Romans who first started putting glass in these holes to keep the weather out. We do have a lot to thank the Romans for, and for more than just glass, of course. But it was a rough glass they had used, and not all that transparent.

The improvements in the clarity of glass over the centuries brought with it a new set of problems however. Privacy was threatened – if you can look out with clarity, others can look in with equal clarity. This instigated another development – shutters. Shutters are still widely used in houses all around the Mediterranean today, but in the more northern climes they chose to develop something more easily pulled aside: drapes and curtains. This spawned a whole fashion industry which exists to this day and has maintained its popularity in most of the former British colonies (including, and especially, Australia). Next, came the development of blinds; another big industry that is growing even as I write.Today, however, technology has given us such vast improvements and innovations that we have panes of glass that are in and of themselves able to become obscure or transparent at the mere flick of a switch – Switchable Privacy Glass. Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals entrapped between two panes of glass with a power source to activate it. Amazing! But then, we are, after all, in the age of microchips, satellites and nanotechnology. Whiz-bang stuff!

I think it will be a while before we see the total demise of blinds, drapes or curtains, principally because of their potential, decorative nature, but the day will soon be upon us when the simple affordability and effectiveness of electric glass products such as Switchglass’ Switchable Privacy Glass will see it as being the glass of choice to afford privacy. And remember – next time when you gaze vacantly out through that apparent hole in the wall at the world beyond – what you are looking through is a real W-I-N-D-O-W. Nothing to do with Microsoft, but perhaps, conceivably, a space laden with opportunity.

Windows was last modified: February 12th, 2014 by Secure Glass