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  • windows in England...

    I watch a LOT of BBC programs and I have a question about some window panes I see periodically - the first time being in the movie of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Harry went to get his supplies for Hogwarts...the window at...ummm...the place where he got his wand...had rings that looked melted in to the glass. Almost a bubble shape.

    My son, then 11, said it was where people had blasted the window with wands while trying them out. Okay, that worked for me for several years...but I have since seen them in several BBC shows I watch...Miss Marple, for one...so it apparently is something more common than just in Diagon Alley....can anyone tell me what it is all about? Sorry if I am posting incorrectly, but it said non-crafts related here...and I am just very curious about this window design!


    Olivander's - that was the shop....

    Thanks!
    Susan

  • #2
    If its the ones that I am thinking of, that look like circles that radiate out from the middle, then it comes from when the panes of glass used to be handmade/blown/spun.

    The panes were made with molten glass on a metal? rod and then spun very fast to make the glass spread out, the glass that was required was cut from the huge sheet that was made this way, and the bubble/round bit was the offcut from the middle where the rod was, and was considered to be rejects. But some people bought them to use as windows (maybe they couldn't affords proper panes). that's why you see them in the small rectangular windows.

    But it is early, and I could be barking up the wrong tree, but that is what I heard (I am sure that I heard it on a glass programe on discovery or something like that)
    www.jos-beaded-designs.com

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    • #3
      Delta is right as far as I can remember, they are also known as bottle bottom window panes, usually found in very old properties.

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      • #4
        If the house is very old (15th, 16th century) I was told glass was blown, but not able to be made that big (think of a plate or fruit bowl), so I understood that all the glass panes have a curvey look to them. The roundy ones are the middle of the blown/spun glass and probably another four will come out of the circle made. To make a big window you take these pieces and fix them in a grid of small panes to make one big window which is where you get that old cottage look with little criss cross windows.
        This comes from me listening in to history anoraks' conversations so I'll just go off and check it for truthfulness......on a history anorak's forum

        Some more weird glass history stuff. Glass acts like a liquid and very slowly slides downwards so the bottom of your windows are thicker than the top.

        In (I think it was the C17th) there was a tax on windows (the government's latest money making scheme) so lots of house owners bricked up their windows so they paid less money. You see houses with windows that aren't.

        Here's something else, something that bugs me and my husband as we've moved around a lot so looked at loads of houses: each historical style of house has it's special historical style of window (and door). It all goes to gether to make a 'look'. When new people move in and 'modernise' they rip out the old windows and door and put in the ones that are flavour of the day. I wish the wouldn't! It looks horrible and all wrong!

        And back to flights of fancy or scariness....my friend says windows are the eyes of a house..........dee, dah, dee, dah, scarey music.....

        AnnieAnna

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        • #5
          I've heard them referred to as 'bullseye' windows.
          Gail x

          My Blog: http://gailburtonart.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I've got another one (a faction - Fact or fiction -I'm not sure how true it is). Early houses had windows that were just holes left when building the walls. They were to let light in to the cottage. As they were drafty they were called windholes which got mumbled into the word 'window'.

            This bit is true because they found some - to stop the drafts the windows were covered with oiled cloth. If you oil cloth it goes sort of see through and it''s waterproof.

            Waterproof is not so much of a problem as - you know how thatched rooves and English rooves in general are sloopy and overhang the walls - that's so the rain runs off but falls clear of the walls. That keeps the walls dry...which was quite a good thing when they were made of daub and wattle.

            Not counting Native Americal dwellings - how old is your oldest house/building in Texas? And is it built the Spanish way to keep the sun out or the English way to let as much in as possible?

            AnnieAnna

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            • #7
              And this is not windows but I think it's hilariously funny....
              C16th....most cottages had dirt floors. Basically you built you house and walked a lot on the floor and the grass stopped growing and the soil got compacted. Next bit of the story goes you had a living area for the humans and a side bit for the animals. so you'd get vegetable peelings etc and hen poo dropping onto the floor and getting tamped in.
              Apparently this made a vital ingedient for the making of gunpowder (the chemists will tell you what...nitrate?). Anyway a law was brought in that said officials could enter your home and dig up your floor - for the glory of England and you couldn't argue!
              What us housewives have had to put up with, eh? ?

              AnnieAnna

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AnnieAnna View Post
                And this is not windows but I think it's hilariously funny....
                C16th....most cottages had dirt floors. Basically you built you house and walked a lot on the floor and the grass stopped growing and the soil got compacted. Next bit of the story goes you had a living area for the humans and a side bit for the animals. so you'd get vegetable peelings etc and hen poo dropping onto the floor and getting tamped in.
                Apparently this made a vital ingedient for the making of gunpowder (the chemists will tell you what...nitrate?). Anyway a law was brought in that said officials could enter your home and dig up your floor - for the glory of England and you couldn't argue!
                What us housewives have had to put up with, eh? ?

                AnnieAnna
                Makes you wonder how on earth (no pun intended) we managed to evolve?
                www.just-soaps.com
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                • #9
                  I want to know why our cottages didn't explode in a Monty Python sort of way
                  AnnieAnna

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                  • #10
                    Here you go - musings from my friends in glass anoracks:

                    Jennyt says
                    My window panes (though not Tudor) were blown glass once I believe and range up to 12" by 8". Surely tiny panes are not due to the size of the glass bubbles that were blown, as glass-blowers were making moderate-sized glass bubbles for bottles for many centuries before the 16th century. I suppose the thickness of the glass is relevant.

                    Bess says
                    I am making no claims as to the accuracy of this but I'm sure I remember being told that those 'bottle bottom' panes came from the middle of the piece of glass and were cheaper than other panes. Presumably this was due to the fact that they let light in and kept wind out but you couldn't actually see out of them? I'm thinking more of the later windows where you have slightly larger panes in wooden frames but I assume the same would be true of earlier glass.
                    I would guess that the size might be more down to the practicalities of cutting, mounting and possibly transporting the glass in larger panes? These are problematic even in the 21st century.Also I am guessing that mounting up larger pieces of glass in lead would be quite difficult due to the fact that glass is heavy and lead is relatively soft. I have a beautiful hand made leaded mirror with stained glass edges which is utterly useless unless bolted onto the wall because the lead sags and the glass/mirror pieces fall out!

                    Merlon says
                    Window panes were smaller because early production technologies could only produce smaller pieces of glass. Government taxes on glass (Window tax,general excise duties) also hindered useage

                    http://www.glassonline.com/infoserv/history.html
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_glass_(window)
                    http://www.londoncrownglass.co.uk/History.html
                    http://www.britglass.org.uk/AboutGla...ryofGlass.html

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                    • #11
                      windows and old houses

                      Originally posted by AnnieAnna View Post
                      Not counting Native Americal dwellings - how old is your oldest house/building in Texas? And is it built the Spanish way to keep the sun out or the English way to let as much in as possible?

                      AnnieAnna
                      It's almost the crackadon (early rising dinosaur) (crack of dawn) so I will look in to that and post it later - would be interesting to know! I am making coffee, and packing up to head for our etsy Team Booth at SxSW...but must milk the goats first.

                      Interesting explanations re the glass - thanks all! Have a great day!

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                      • #12
                        oldest building

                        Found this quite quickly -

                        http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3951

                        [The San Fernando Cathedral's original church of San Fernando was constructed between 1738 and 1749. The walls of that church still stand today making it the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the United States and the oldest building in Texas.]

                        It’s in San Antonio. The url has more about it's construction. I dearly love going to San Antonio prior to Christmas - to the River Walk, to El Mercado, and to the old cathedrals...sets the mood just right!

                        IT'S RAINING! I can't believe it!! Not the best weather for selling soap outdoors...at least we do have a tent with sides...but the moisture makes the soap so sticky...blech. AND I will have to park miles away and walk...erck.

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                        • #13
                          Oooo sorry to wake you up. My sister used to live in Dallas but I had completely forgotten about the time difference. Good job emails don't come with alarm clocks

                          Here's another "how do people get to know this stuff?"

                          From Ant
                          "The Bullseye in windows is where the pontil or blowing iron was connected from the glass blower and naturally distorts the view so was cheaper.

                          Tudor Panes were blown opened blown bubbles which are spun to make the glass thin. The centre is naturally thicker than the outside edge.

                          Standard window glass - or flat float glass was invented by Pilkington (UK) and is produced by floating glass onto molten tin to produce consistent sheets. (The tin side of float glass repels water better)

                          If you are talking about glass fusing or slumping - be careful - the bullseye glass they talk about is a different type of glass with a different thermal expansion coefficient used by many glass artists and is not the same shape."

                          (I'm begining to prefer the fairy wand theory, myself)
                          AnnieAnna

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                          • #14
                            Rain in Texas! Golly gosh, this global warming is getting about a bit.

                            Talking of soap in the rain once upon a time I was camping and carried a bottle of washing up liquid in my haversack. The top came off......inspite of rinsing it a hundred times everytime I walked in the mountains and it rain my haversack would bubble.

                            Must get back to the subject of windows. I see a window of opportunity for someone. A gap in the market for little umbrellas to stick in soaps. like the ones in cocktail drinks but not made of paper........

                            Best of luck - I sold soap in the rain - once
                            AnnieAnna

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                            • #15
                              Back to real windows. it gets better.

                              Miel says
                              Don't know about other times but .....

                              During Tudor times to make a pane of glass the glass was first melted in a kiln and then blown into a bottle shape.

                              The bottle shape was very close to the kind of standard wine bottle we have today.

                              When the bottle was blown but the glass still hot the bottom was cut off with a pair of shears and this was flattened out by another man and formed what we now know as a "lower bullseye" pane - pretty rough stuff.

                              The remaining bottle was sliced up from the open bottom as high as you could go and then cut around the neck.

                              (lots of re-heating going on all the time)

                              This was then flattened out to make a pane.

                              The top was also flattened out to make a "bullseye" pane - even rougher.

                              Again, while it was hot the pane was cut using shears into smaller panes roughly the shape wanted.

                              The smaller panes were then placed in a very hot chamber in the kiln and let soak and cool slowly (tempering the glass) or it would shatter as it got cold. The bigger the pane the more chance it would shatter. This was probably why the panes were kept small.

                              There were no glass cutters (not even diamonds were used) so the glass was nibbled away using "grazing irons" made from lengths of iron bar with a notch in the end that could be used for carefully breaking away small bits of glass (you can date old glass panes this way).

                              When put together as a "leaded" light or window the structure was and is very strong. Each bit of finished glass was embedded using a type of putty which hardened and made the structure even stronger.

                              Even a really strong wind and storm would not blow it out.

                              If the leaded light is very tall, though, such as in a church, strong iron bars are placed across the window frame and the leaded window tied to these bars with iron wire to take the weight. Have a look in a church window today as the same technique is still used.

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