PVCu windows and the year 1838?

Henri Victor Regnault


Henri Victor Regnault

Chemist Henri Victor Regnault accidentally discovered PVC

Must know info about the origins of PVCu windows.

Residencial PVCu windows were first sold commercially in Europe as early as 1954, developed from the base material PVC. Generally it’s considered a relatively modern material with thousands of commercial uses in many industries, from fashion clothing to medical supplies. In fact PVC is one of our oldest synthetic materials, with the history of PVC reaching as far back as 1838.

It all started one sunny day when the French physicist and chemist Henri Victor Regnault accidentally discovered PVC. Leaving a flask of the newly discovered vinyl chloride exposed to sunlight. During an unknown time a white solid appeared inside the flask…..Voila PVC!  Sadly the material had no obvious commercial applications so no one talks about Henri anymore. 

So lets talk about Friedrich Heinrich August Klatte and Waldo Semon.

Later in 1913, German inventor Friedrich Heinrich August Klatte took out a patent on PVC. His method used polymerization of vinyl chloride with sunlight. The material was initially difficult to work. Thats all about Friedrich. Then in the 1920s. Waldo Semon, an American industrial scientist, made PVC a more functional material. While trying to create a synthetic replacement for rubber. Semon continued to experiment with polyvinyl chloride and came up with the idea of using the material as a water resistant coating. Think rain coats and protective clothing or think tight fitting shinny outfits!

Other developers quickly found innovative uses and refined methods to enhance durability. Opening the door to applications in the building trades. The plastic’s strength, resistance to light, thermal properties and excellent durability made PVCu, a version of PVC, the ideal material to replace ageing rotten timber windows. So I think Waldo Semon deserves a mention when admiring your new PVCu sash windows from windowsdelivered.co.uk . If you want to discover more about PVC visit the following link. www.pvc.org Don’t do it!

The images below show PVC granules ready for processing in to extrusions.

pvc granules
Rigid PVC granules for extrusion moulding machine

Early PVCu windows were bulky with square edges thanks to the Germans.

The introduction of German PVC-U windows in to the UK market began in the 1970’s. With bulky and square edges, these windows had limited application in the UK. Certainly, they could not replace our large Victorian timber bay windows with their many small opening  sashes and glazing bars.  Further more  these early PVCu windows had some inherent problems with large black rubber glazing seals that shrank over time and dropped out. Some yellowing also occurred to the PVCu frames which caused some negativity over the choice of this material. However this was mostly overlooked with virtually no maintenance, energy saving double glazed glass units and no  painting required. 

Profiles designed specifically for the UK, now it gets interesting.

In the 1990s many new companies started manufacturing throughout the UK with the introduction of profiles designed specifically for the UK markets. With slimmer profiles, timber style sculptured edges and improved PVCu quality, a boom soon took hold for cheap replacement windows. With PVCu rapidly outstripping the demand for aluminum and timber windows for the first time.

PVCu or uPVC, confused, it’s your choice? 

Regular PVC known as polyvinyl chloride has the addition of plasticizers creating a soft flexible material  used in synthetic leather, waterproof clothing, shoes, car interiors and numerous other plastic products. Removing the plasticizers creates a rigid PVC known as  unplasticized  Polyvinyl chloride, hence uPVC or PVCu. Actually, it makes no difference, you can use whichever you find easier to remember.  Our preferred choice is PVCu as this term used throughout Europe and makes more sense. Saying that PVC used for windows and door frames should be called RPVC. Ridge Polyvinyl Chloride.

Oh well!

A revolution in PVCu windows

The last 10 years has seen huge advancements PVCu, profiles are now available in wood grained finishes and hundreds of coloured frame options. Precision manufacturing created neater corners and mechanical joints, starting a new revolution in PVCu window design that could now look just like a timber window. These new, high-quality windows enabled us to offer replacement PVCu windows without any compromise on style.

Now PVCu timber style sash windows can be in almost any colour, from soft whites, trendy greens to contemporary greys.  Installed in any property type from character cottage, Victorian terraced or contemporary new build. Visit our Heritage range

PVCu Window wood look
PVCu Window wood look
Run through sash horn

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