Sash window horns are residues from our past that have remained, changed, and evolved into the shapes and sizes we see today. Following them through history is like following many other inventions, a brilliant mind coming up with a great idea, implemented all over the country, superseded by emerging technology, and left as a relic to our all-too-common human story of progress. Here’s a brief window overlooking their history.:
The Inception of the Horn
The Sash window is more than 400 hundred years old, and it has been used throughout the Georgian, Victorian, and modern eras. The horns were invented around 1860 when double-glazed windows were starting to become popular – the glazing bar (which was mostly made out of moulded wood) had to be removed to make way for the installation of the extra glass panes. This made the extra frames weak and susceptible to damage, so these curious horns were invented in a smart fit of engineering to reinforce the frames and make them withstand the extra weight better.
Overtaking Current Designs
There are probably several factors which helped these little horns overtake virtually every window frame in the UK:
- The biggest factor was how easy they were to install – instead of replacing your whole window and frame because they couldn’t support the weight of double-glazed windows, you just had to put two (or four) pieces of wood on each side of your frame. It made sense economically, especially considering how effective they were.
- The horns being flexible and produced in various styles and shapes also helped them spread. The Victorian era is known for the people’s love of beautiful designs, colourful trinkets, and unique ornaments – being able to adorn their windows with horns was an attractive prospect for many people.
- Sash windows are heavy and put a lot of pressure on frames, so having a way to reinforce the frames was indispensable for its time – the horns protected the frames from breaking under pressure, from cracking and rotting, and from being scratched and damaged. All these advantages helped in their spread.
Being Overtaken by Newer Technology
Thanks to the march of progress, the horns’ advantages slowly waned and disappeared – the industrial revolution meant we could process metals and wood easier than ever. we started being able to create very sturdy frames that could withstand almost any weight.
Progress was also made in producing glass – we have and install triple-glazed windows in our homes. They substantially heavier than double-glazed windows, yet the frames are able to withstand their weight just fine.
Being Reduced to an Ornament
Now, there’s no real practical reason to use horns – everything you can do with them can be done with better and more effective techniques, but there is one thing technologies can’t replace, and that’s historical charm and value. Many people who have period homes or love a touch of Victorian design in their home still ask for horns to be installed. Due to how simple and easy it is to install and remove horns, you won’t really spend too much time worrying about them. If you change your mind, removing them will be easy.