Windows are clearly important to us at The Clean Team. Keeping the windows, glass and facades of our customers villas, showrooms, apartments etc clean, is not only what makes us happy, but also what helps us keep our employees in work, allowing them to provide an honest living for their families. I’m sure all window cleaning companies in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and across the UAE would agree, a window cleaners job is not easy, but can be a lot of fun.
Because of the importance of windows to our business, we decided to do some research into windows and their history.
Did you know, in the olden days, windows were simply holes in a wall. No protection from the weather, stray animals, strangers or noise. I guess the world was a different place then. When humans began to become more advanced and developed, windows were covered with animal hide, textile, or wood. A form of shutters that could be opened and closed came next, that was revolutionary, but still not perfect. Over time, windows were built that both protected the inhabitants from the elements and transmitted light: mullioned glass windows, these were joined by multiple small pieces of glass with (surprising to me) paper windows, flattened pieces of translucent animal parts, horns to be specific, and plates of very thinly sliced stone and marble.
In the Far East, China, Japan etc. paper was used to fill windows. We still see this in decorative form today. The Romans, leaders of their time, were the first known to use glass for windows, a technology likely first produced in Roman Egypt—In Alexandria. Not too far from us here in the UAE. This was ca. 100 AD. The glass of that time is likely to have had very poor visibility, so window cleaning as a profession was probably not a great career choice at that time. Its likely to have been over 100 years before a window glass became transparent enough to see clearly through, close to what we see today.
Over the years, techniques were developed to shear through one side of a blown glass cylinder and produce thinner rectangle windows. This created popularity in tall narrow windows. Mullioned glass windows were the windows well-to-do Europeans opted for, whereas paper windows were much more economical and commonly used in China, Korea and Japan.
That’s our quick history lesson on windows and glass. As we can see when driving down the Sheikh Zayed Road, glass technology has come a long was and is constantly developing. As are the cleaning techniques used to maintain the glass.