The earliest windows were just holes in a wall. Later, windows were covered with animal hide, cloth, or wood. The Romans were the first known to use glass for windows, a technology likely first produced in Roman Egypt—In Alexandria ca. 100 AD, cast glass windows, albeit with poor optical properties, began to appear—but these were small thick productions, little more than blown glass jars (cylindrical shapes) flattened out into sheets with circular striation patterns throughout. It would be over a millennium before a window glass became transparent enough to see through clearly, as we think of it now.
In English the word fenester was used as a parallel until the mid-18th century and fenestration is still used to describe the arrangement of windows within a façade. Also, words such as "defenestration" are in use, meaning to throw something out of a window.
Antique Roman window glass found in a Roman castle in Straubing, Bavaria, Germany. Dated to approx. 1st to 4th century A.D. Photographed at Gäubodenmuseum, Straubing, Germany.
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