Soon, plastic windows will be “celebrating” their 65-th anniversary. During these years, they have come a long way of evolution. Today, they differ greatly not only from their ancestors – wooden windows, but also from their plastic brothers from the previous century. It has to be noted that they could have been created much earlier but for Adolf Hitler and his invention – gas chambers. But let’s start from the very beginning.
The primary material of which the PVC windows are made is polyvinylchloride. It was created by an engineer Henri–Victor Regnault totally by accident. In 1835, this mountain engineer noticed a white powder on the bottom of the retorts with polyvinilchloride solution he had left on the window-sill a few days before. The scientist performed various experiments with the powder, but didn’t succeed in either dissolving it or getting any other reaction.
In 1878, the polyvinylchloride polymerization product was researched much more thoroughly, but it didn’t lead to its production on an industrial scale. Nevertheless, it became clear that this material had great potential.
In 1912, a German chemical company BASF assumed that PVC can be used as coating for the regular wooden windows. However, the technology hadn’t been finalized and implemented because of the World War I. In 1931, BASF renewed the production of PVC. At that time, the USA and Great Britain started exploring this material, too. The idea of producing windows out of PVC acquired more and more supporters around the globe.It had seemed, the world was on the brink of seeing the first PVC window designed, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen then.
All plans and developments were put on hold because of Hitler. During the World War II, the company had to develop the poisonous gas that was later used in the concentration camps. Several company directors and top managers were convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
So, only in the 1950-s the first PVC windows were produced. In 1952, a German designer Heinz Pasche obtained a patent on production of window profiles out of polyvinylchloride. However, at that time, plastic was used as soft coating of the metal frame. In the late 1950-s, when hard plastic was adopted, the PVC windows started resembling the modern ones.
In 1959, the first PVC windows were installed in the residential buildings. One of the companies installed the innovative windows at totally no charge for promotional purposes. The end-consumer quickly realized their advantages which laid a foundation of the first “plastic outbreak” in Europe.
One of the special strengths of the PVC windows lies in the fact that their production doesn’t cause forest devastation and, therefore, doesn’t affect animals. Moreover, polyvinylchloride and PVC window structures waste can be recycled and used to produce bright Christmas-tree decorations, for example.
Concerning the service life of such windows, it has to be mentioned that recently in Germany a PVC window that had been installed back in 1964 was disassembled.
So, happy anniversary, our dear windows!