Nature was the first glazier. The rapid cooling of hot lava flows in the dawn of time gave birth to obsidian. This natural glass is classified as gemstone. Transparency arises when the lava solidifies before crystallization takes place.
The oldest known objects made of glass made by people, pearls from Persia, are 5,000 years old. The Egyptians made glass bowls and vases. The Phoenicians who lived in the Levant and who colonized the coastal areas around the Mediterranean invented the glass blowpipe and transparent glass at the beginning of our era.
The earliest dated findings of window glass are said to be from Pompeii following the eruption of the volcano in the year 79, square panels with sides measuring 70 cm. The Romans cast their windows but later began to blow them. The art of producing glass spread throughout the Roman Empire and took hold in ancient Gaul and other northern provinces.
A thousand years later the circle was closed when a glassblower from Normandy established himself in Italy. This led to the subsequent world famous Venetian glass factories at Murano, a small group of islands in the lagoon just outside La Serenissima.
Strictly speaking, glass is a mixture of sand, soda and lime that is heated to a glowing mass and is then allowed to cool down and processed.
Swedish glass has its own success story. Small foundries were established during the reign of King Gustav Vasa. The first proper glassworks was established in 1594 by a German master glassmaker on Älgön. With the oncoming of the Period of Liberty during the 18th century, manufacturing developed in leaps and bounds. The Crown and the estates of the realm encouraged the emergence of domestic manufactures. “Santé, mon frère ...", exclaimed, we can assume, Bellman, with an engraved glass from Limmared in his hand.
Towards the end of the 19th century there were so many glassworks in Småland that people began to refer to the area as the Kingdom of Crystal. Kosta, Boda, Orrefors, Skruv, Pukeberg, Åfors and Målerås eventually conquered the world with their handicrafts. Artists such as Simon Gate and Edward Hald made "Swedish grace" into a concept. And even today, Sweden is a world leader.
The word “window” is derived from the Latin word “fenestra” which means illuminate. The history of glass is intimately associated with the history of the window and light.
But it would take some time. In the beginning there was only a small hole to allow the smoke to escape. The light came free. They were called “vindögon” (eyes of the wind, smoke holes, skylights) or “dageröppningar”, small openings that allowed some light into the room! With time, the small openings were fitted with animal skin, made taut and scraped thin, almost transparent. Bladders from oxen were also used, as were the stomach linings from cows and oiled linen, as the use of shutters became more widespread.
By the 16th century, glass became somewhat more common in Sweden. Still, it was strictly reserved for the rich and the highborn. For centuries on the continent, castles and cathedrals had been constructed with shimmering rows of windows and breathtaking high mosaics with Biblical stories in stained glass, all of which were framed with lead.
The lead made it possible to join together large areas of fragile glass. But lead is a metal that is not particularly suitable for window bars. In Sweden, it was replaced by wood in the 18th century. Much later the lead was used again as decorative elements referred to as art nouveau and classicism.
Most events in history happen sooner than you would imagine. In 1688, Frenchman Bernard Perrot applied for a patent for the mechanical manufacture of glass, a method that allowed the casting of panes of glass larger than 1 x 2 metres in size. But as recently as the early 20th century, window glass in Sweden was still being made by hand and mouth in wooden scoops and swinging pits. The glowing lump of glass was blown up into the shape of a cylinder that was then cut up and opened to then be levelled in a flattening oven so it could cool down, a process that required exquisite precision and exceptional skill.
Blown glass was gradually replaced by drawn or rolled plate glass. In the 1920s the first machine for the production of window glass arrived in Sweden. Today, the method used by the Pilkington's brothers is used. In the 1950's they introduced their float glass. The molten glass floats on a bed of molten tin, smooth and fine. It's called plate glass. There are no bubbles to be seen in the glass, the nuances and the weak bottle-green hues are long gone, and its beauty may also have disappeared along with the handcraft itself. What remains is the light – and a different kind of beauty.
A pane of glass does not make a window. It takes more than that. Without the lining, window frame, posts, the casement and the glazing bars, there is no window. It's that simple.
Window joinery is a noble art with roots in history, not least in Småland, inherited for generations. Glass and wood are in the region's DNA. We are now about to start production in Lenhovda, in the heart of the Kingdom of Crystal and the furniture industry.
Traditional wooden handicrafts will always form the base of our operations. Our joiners have served their apprenticeships, skilled professionals made of the right stuff. To help them, they have a production line of the highest quality. Let there be light is a high-tech joinery company.
We manufacture doors, windows and sliding doors made of wood and glass with an advanced glide and lifting function. Wood is combined with innovative materials. Our glass partitions can be equipped with sunshade, electronic dimming and motor drive.
The sliding doors roll on ball bearings. The slide and lift function is easy to operate and allows the heavy glass partitions to run easily and silently. Angled profiles seal wood against wood when locking.
Entire glass partitions can be load bearing. Something Le Corbusier could only dream of. His open floor plans and ribbon windows in the façade required pillars of concrete.
We love light, glass and buildings. When we have nothing else to do, we look at architecture, preferably with a lot of glass, such as the Horta Museum in Brussels, Eileen Gray's Villa E-1027 on the Riviera, the case study houses in California or Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye in Poissy.
Actually, we make light, that’s what we do. There is always a story, short or long. Ours is short and – long. Fiat lux. Let there be light. And there was light. With this light, we work on a daily basis. Talk about products with provenance.