Skylights from Vitral

It is believed that the word ‘window’ comes from the old Scandinavian language of Old Norse. The word was put together from two words, namely ‘wind’ and ‘eye’, and represented excactly what it was: A ‘wind eye’ that was an opening in the roof, that would let the wind and air in and out of the house. A way of ventilation that historians think may go back to the times around the 13th century BC.

But when the old Northern Vikings put in ‘wind eyes’ in their spartan houses, it was not as much to let the light in, as is served as a way of getting foul and smoky air out and fresh air in. Windows of that time did not have glass or any other covering materials, windows where simply holes that could let the air in and out.

Later on in history, different materials were used to try and cover up the window holes in order to keep the rain and the cold out. First animal hides were used, then different kinds of cloth and fabric. Wood was also used because it was solid – and it was that way of covering windows that later became known as ‘shutters’.

While glass itself has a history that goes back as early as 3500 BC, where it was made in places like Egypt and Mesopotamia, windows made of glass were not made until about 100 AD, when the Romans in Alexandria, Egypt began the first and prime experiments with putting glas on windows.

From air holes to Vitral skylights

New techniques were developed over time, the quality of glass became better and soon it was possible to produce glass so thin and clear, that it was suited for window building. In the beginning glass was very expensive to produce, and the first use of glazed windows was only for the few and rich. Later on production changed and by the 17th century glazed windows became fairly common all over Europa.

Glass is still used for windows today – but style, form and shape have certainly changed over time. Now, companies like Vitral, and modern day contractors, are using innovative ways of building with things like glazed roofs, Atrium Glazing and Conservation rooflights. We can think of the old days with a certain charm and nostalgia, but time has definitely changed for the more convenient, since those Vikings let the air out of their huts and houses.


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