Monday, June 2, 2008
Prior to 1900, windows in the U.S. were predominantly wood frame, with some custom metal windows (iron, bronze, steel) in institutional construction. Around 1900, some British manufacturers of custom metal windows adopted the technology of rolled steel shapes to produce special rail profiles for windows. Two of the more prominent British steel window companies opened U.S. manufacturing companies to produce rolled steel windows. The fire resistance of steel windows with wire glass helped popularize steel window use in the U.S. in the early 1900's. Catastrophic fires in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco led to the development of building regulations that restricted the use of combustible materials in many types of construction. After World War II, the technology of extruding aluminum frames developed and aluminum windows began to gain popularity. By the 1990's, aluminum-framed windows accounted for approximately 65% of the commercial window market. Wood, vinyl and steel-framed windows comprise most of the remaining 35% of the market.