Jalousie windows, their history and where to buy them today — 21 photos from 1950

jalousie windowsLet's-decorate-1950Jalousie windows — the louvered glass panels often seen in storm doors, enclosed porches or breezeways — are a common feature of mid-century homes, especially in warmer climates. Typically installed to enclose outdoor areas like porches, jalousie windows are also found in areas of the home in need more light and ventilation. In midcentury America — days when central air conditioning was not common — these windows allowed summer breezes pass through freely — and no metal cross braces meant that views were unobstructed.

We think there are good reasons to consider saving — or adding jalousie windows — hence, they made our list of the top ten most endangered features of mid century homes. Note: Please check local building codes.

ludman jalousie windowsWhy do we call them Jalousie Windows?

Before diving into the pros and cons of Jalousie windows, Pam and I first did some digging to find out where the word came from. The research that seems to make the most sense to us is this short discussion on the Eggcorn Forum. Basically, it says that the word ‘jalousie’ started from the Italian ‘gelosias’  – a trellis with wood or iron panels to protect one’s privacy. The word ‘gelosias’ means ‘jealousy’ — as in using the shades to jealously guard the privacy of a home. The similar French translation ‘celosias’ also has a subtle meaning ‘sun-blind’  related to the concept of jealousy, the eggcornians say.

And hmmm, this eggcorn group also jumps to a discussion of why we call metal horizontal blinds “Venetian” blinds. But they are just playing with words – we are not meant to take the word “Venusian” seriously. Pam’s survey of the www seems to suggest (1) a lot of conjecture mostly centered around the idea that (2) Venetians [people from Venice] propelled the popularity of this type of blind, which had been around in some form or another for hundreds of years — numerous civilizations’ solution, using vernacular materials, to keeping the sun — and prying eyes — out of their homes.

Thinking about the way the slats are designed, Jalousie windows and Venetian blinds really are the exact same concept – jalousies are just fixed, while Venetians are portable.

LudmanJalousies-13Back to  ‘jalousies’. Pam went looking for info, too, and found a few more tidbits:

  • Wikipedia says, “patent for a louvered window was applied for in the US in 1900 and patented Nov. 26, 1901. Patent # 687705 by Joseph W. Walker, of Malden, Massachusetts.”
  • Merriam-Webster says the first known use of this term (for windows, we guess) was 1766.

jalousie windows porchLet’s look at midcentury jalousie windows

This whole little journey into language started first with — pictures. Poking around archive.org a while back, I found this collection of information and advertising for Ludman Jalouises. Back in 1950 when these brochures were published, Jalousie windows were labeled as cutting-edge technology — even if the concept had been around for hundreds of years. The caption in one illustration reads:

picture windows that open

Jalousies were promoted as “Picture windows that open.”

Don’t be old fashioned — the Jalousie window has proven to be the most versatile and functional window yet designed for new construction or replacements of old windows in porches, homes, breezeways, etc. Vent Vue is the product of years of precision engineering and advanced manufacturing “know how.” Available in clear, obscure and heat resistant Solex glass.

These Ludman Jalousie windows also came with inside screens and outside storms that allowed for three-season use. For doors, there also is a mention of a combination storm and screen.

And, there is mention of wood slats (rather than glass) as a choice.


jalousie windowsJalousie windows were advertised as part of the house of the future. Heck even the Joneses — that family that everyone else was trying to keep up with — caused a stir in their neighborhood when they installed this amazing new product. The ad above reads:

What’s all the excitement on 12th St.? Ludman Windo Tite Jalousies have transformed the Jones’ front porch! That new look! Attractive and eye-catching…as trim and clean-lined as an artist’s drawing of a prize winning home! All because the Joneses are keeping up with the world. They’re living in brighter beauty with new Windo Tite Jalouises. You can keep up with the Joneses…and enjoy a whole new era of comfort. Fresh air all of the time, even when it rains…and the airy luxury of outdoor living indoors, which full privacy and security.

ludman jalousie windowsLike most home construction materials, Jalousie windows have continued to advance in design, efficiency, and security. If you are considering adding new Jalousie windows to your home, it is important to take into consideration your climate, expectations for the space and security features. Check local building codes, too.

jalousie windowsWhere to buy Jalousie windows

Below are several sources for Jalousie windows today:

jalousie-window-door

The Burch Company offers two styles of storm doors with jalousie windows

Mega thanks to archive.org and the MBJ Collection for making this vintage catalog available.

SeeAllOurVintageCatalogsSMALL

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Comments

  1. Aggie says

    I recently moved to a Long Island neighborhood that is a 1950s retro renovation paradise. I have original jalousie windows in our enclosed front porch and they are absolutely charming. I was wondering how to clean the windows without going crazy, but I guess you just have to painstakingly wipe down each panel. Still, they are so unique and cute.

    • Joe Felice says

      So it appears you have discovered one of the drawbacks of these windows. The other is that they usually don’t seal completely. I do recall some of the later versions had slats that were able to be popped out, though I do not recall how.

    • Marsha says

      Ours were definitely removable. We would pop the slats out on a Saturday and hose them down in batches. Still had to wipe them down to get rid of spots, but that’s what old newspaper and kids are for. :). But they didn’t seal perfectly. I think we only had them on the porches and in the sunroom.

  2. Marsha says

    When I was a kid, we had a poodle that had extreme anxiety at my mom being away. He was able to knock the jalousie slats out of the front door and escape. Then sit in the front yard and wait for mom to get home. He was not a large dog.

  3. says

    We bought a 1950′s house in South Bend, IN. The breezeway ( a good sized room, actually) between the garage and kitchen is all jalousies windows plus two entry doors. Talk about NO security and NO weather proofing–even with the storm windows in. Might as well have wax paper walls. I have broken into my own home several times (another story) simply by prying up the aluminum pane frame, pulling out the glass pane and reaching inside to unlock the door.
    We will be replacing the doors and windows with modern, secure, insulated units to make the breezeway a year round room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *