There is some debate as to when double glazing was actually invented. However, the vast majority of historians on the subject seem to agree that C.D. Haven in 1930s America invented it. Keeping heat in the home was notoriously difficult for centuries, particularly in bigger houses, as a single fire was often all anyone had. Spotting an issue that needed solving, as most great inventors do, Haven coined the earliest form of double glazing as ‘thermopane’.
His idea was to use two panes of glass to keep the home insulated rather than just one. There is conflict on whether he was actually the first person to do this as there are records of various other homes having two panes of glass instead of one as far back as 1870 in Scotland, Germany and Switzerland, where the winters were particularly harsh and the insulation provided was necessary to ensure a family’s survival through the cold.
Regardless of the conflicting opinions about when it started, Haven’s invention was the one that took off in the United States, gaining massive popularity across the country. Once established as the proper way to keep the home insulated, UK manufacturers started incorporating a dual window system in the mid-1960s. This process involved taking the rotting timber frames out and replacing the installation with fresh timber and double glazing.
By the time the 1970s rolled around, timber was going out of fashion, and the UK was crying out for aluminium installations that promised to last longer, provide greater security, and give homes an ultra-modern finish. However, aluminium proved to be lacking in thermal efficiency compared to timber. Luckily, the parallel rise of uPVC as a building material over the course of the 20th century saw that uPVC could step into place as the standard pairing with double glazing for the modern home. In the 70s, only about 8% of UK households had double glazing insulation, whereas now, 93% of homes in the UK are fitted with double glazed windows and doors.
The main benefits of Double Glazing
Double glazing’s simple manufacturing process is part of what makes it so attractive to installers and so affordable for the UK household. Two panes of glass are put together within the uPVC, timber or aluminium frame and are separated by a spacer. The gap between them is then made into a vacuum with an insulating gas, such as argon, which is then inserted to give the installation the extra layer of insulation required.
Having the gap sealed in a vacuum makes it impossible for moisture to enter between the two panes, keeping your home safe from condensation. Furthermore, the insulating gas keeps temperatures from moving between the two panes of glass, essentially keeping the cold air out and the warm air in. This also works the other way during the summer when it is exceptionally hot, and you’re trying to keep the home cool.
The major benefits that have come from C.D. Haven’s invention are:
- Increased thermal efficiency, leading to lower energy costs overall.
- Enhanced security throughout the country, lowering home burglaries and invasions.
- Much improved noise reduction, reducing complaints and keeping homes private.
- Increasing the value of the UK housing market by having high-performance homes available for everyone.
These benefits would not have been possible without the advent of double glazing entering the market as the standard installation for all homes across the UK.
As we move forward, it is starting to look like triple glazing will overtake double glazing as the standard for our homes. Triple glazing works much like double glazing except with three panes of glass and two layers of thermally insulating gas. Of course, it makes complete sense scientifically and practically that triple glazing would only improve on double glazing. However, its high price point keeps homes from jumping on the craze just yet. However, with rising energy costs across the UK and beyond, it is likely that we will see a greater demand for homes with overall lower energy costs as we move forward into this decade.
At Double Glazing on the Web, we provide our customers with industry expertise and quality quotes for their next double glazing project. We compare prices from across the industry and from a wide variety of installers. If you’re feeling inspired, try using our quick and easy online pricing tool to get your next project started today and see how much you could save with Double Glazing on the Web.