Sash windows have been an iconic presence in buildings throughout the 18th and 19th centuries shaping the future of windows. The origins of sash windows are still heavily researched and whilst the term ‘sash’ is actually derived from the French ‘chassis’ meaning frame, it is believed that sash windows, are in fact, very much British. The earliest known use of sash windows in Britain is in the 17th Century for the likes of Chatsworth, Ham House, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace.
This grand development and introduction of sash windows with enormous aesthetic and practical superiority over older casement windows, followed by Royal patronage of them, drew significant attention to sash windows making them somewhat of a fashion and status symbol. In both old and new buildings, people quickly adopted sash windows providing great explanation as to why many 16th and 17th Century properties feature 18th Century windows.
As so often in history, a number of happenings impacted the trend of sash windows. Introduced in the 1700s were two Buildings Acts; the first being the 1709 Act stating sash windows must be recessed 4 inches back from outer brickwork or masonry; the second being the 1774 Act requiring the sash windows box frame to be set behind the brickwork, leaving only an inch or so of the sash box itself to be visible from the outside. The main reasoning behind the introduction of these Acts was that they were perceived as a fire risk, however were only applicable to London properties and were actually generally ignored.
Windows were undergoing most significant period of change both aesthetically and functionally and 1696 saw the introduction of window tax. Fifty years later a further heavy excise duty on glass was added and continually increased over the years in the process of which many sash windows were blocked. Whilst finally abolished in 1861, the restrictions had only but added even more status value to having sash windows.
It’s only in recent years that sash windows, amongst many important visual and architectural elements of properties, have had their importance rediscovered with many owners and developers previously taking their genuine beauty and contribution to a building for granted.
As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, and a following the replacement of sash windows in the late 20th century, often for uPVC or the ‘plague of plastic ones’ as commonly cited, many gorgeous properties began to lose their charm. Imagine a stunning Georgian house with beautiful craftsmanship to only suddenly inherit white uPVC windows, or whichever one of the variety of colours they are now available in. The aesthetics are affected for little benefit, not to mention the small impact on the value of the property itself. It is often thought that double glazing is only available in this form and this is a common myth strongly dispelled by The Original Box Sash Windows Company who provide an arguably higher quality of glass and double or triple glazing, with traditional custom-made frames suited to the property.
There are only a few companies in the UK able to deliver and maintain the traditional style and character. The Original Box Sash Windows Company are praised by customers for their exquisite attention to detail, high quality panes and slow-grown softwood timber frames as well as outstanding customer service. Whether completely replacing or converting original windows to meet modern requirements, The Original Box Sash Windows Company are strongly recommended throughout the UK and trusted by customers since their start up in 1979 and have enjoyed considerable success in both the construction and installation of sash windows.