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Box Sash Windows Specialist Heritage Joinery | Box Sash & Casement Windows | Bowden Tailored Wood

When Were Sash Windows Invented: The Best Theories…

The invention of sash windows

Sash windows have been around for more than three hundred years. We know this, because what is believed to be the earliest example of a sash window in Britain was installed in the 1670s at Palace House in Newmarket. But as for who invented sash windows, and when, well that’s a little harder to say.

Whilst it is not entirely clear who invented sash windows or when they were first invented, historians believe they originated in Holland or France during the 17th century. From there, they spread to England and other parts of Europe, eventually becoming a popular choice for homes and buildings of all types. Others claim that an Englishman named Robert Hooke was the inventor of sash windows, at some point after the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Today sash windows continue to be a popular choice for homeowners who want the classic and timeless look for their windows. Whether you are renovating an old home or building something new, sash windows can beauty, style, and value to your property.

But let’s look a little deeper at the different theories on who and when sash windows were invented.

Did Robert Hooke invent sash windows?

Robert Hooke was a 17th century English scientist, architect, and polymath, renowned for his wide-ranging contributions to various fields, including physics, microscopy, astronomy, and architecture. He is perhaps best known for Hooke’s Law in physics, which describes the relationship between the force applied to a spring and its extension. He also made significant contributions to the development of the microscope and famously coined the term “cell” when describing the microscopic structure of cork.

Regarding sash windows, many believe that Robert Hooke invented the sash window. However, as we’ve established, the exact origins of sash windows are somewhat unclear, and it is difficult to definitively credit Hooke with their invention.

But the theory behind the belief he invented them is very interesting, as it has a connection to the Great Fire of London in 1666. Some say that Hooke invented sash windows after the disaster as he believed the wide opening a sash window offers would make escaping a house fire easier compared to a traditional window opening.

Historical records suggest that sash windows became popular in England during the late 17th century, which just so happens, like the Great Fire of London, to coincide with Hooke’s lifetime. While there is no direct evidence conclusively proving that it was him that invented the sash window, his known interest in mechanical devices and architecture, along with his involvement in various building projects, lends some plausibility to the claim.

But the reality is we might not never know who invented sash windows and when, as to date, no conclusive evidence has been found. It’s likely that the sash window design evolved through contributions from multiple different people over time.

And that could mean people in Europe…

Were sash windows invented in Holland or France?

If it wasn’t Robert Hooke, then perhaps the lineage of sash windows can be traced back to Holland as we mentioned earlier? So, what’s the theory for this?

Some people believe that the vertical sliding window design originated in Holland in the late 1600s. However, in the 1700s, sash windows were often called the “English window” in Holland which casts a little doubt on this theory

Others believe the sash window may have been of French origin, as the word “sash” is derived from the French word “chassis”, meaning frame.

To conclude, the exact origins of sash windows remain somewhat shrouded in mystery. However, it is clear that they have been an important architectural feature in Europe for over three centuries and continue to be used in modern construction projects today.

And that’s where we come in.

Tailored Wood is a family-owned and operated joinery shop situated just outside of Salisbury, Wiltshire. We are proud to continue the traditions and heritage that dates back to the 1600s, and who knows, possibly even earlier than that.

Just like the early inventor of sash windows, whoever that really was, we take pride in our commitment to excellence, and the artistry that defines every piece of joinery we create.

Did you know? We offer sash window restoration services across the south coast of England and Hampshire, including towns such as Winchester and Southampton.

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