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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.

Important Note: Please check local building, fire, and other such safety codes about jalousie window safety requirements. For example, there is such as thing as egress standards aka emergency egress standards or codes — approved / mandated ways that must be in place to help escape from rooms in case of a fire. Find out from your local municipal professionals whether jalousie windows meet these standards given your planned application. Readers also have pointed out that these window may not be particularly energy efficient, and that they may be easier for burglars to breach. I am not the expert — consult with properly licensed professionals to determine whether and how to use these windows safely.

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 or doors to your home, it is important to take into consideration your climate, expectations for the space and security features, etc. See the Renovate Safe alert closer to the top of this story for various concerns that have been pointed out — consult with your own experts!

jalousie windowsWhere to buy Jalousie windows

Below are several sources for Jalousie windows today:

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

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:

  1. Pam Kueber says:

    I am closing comments on this story as they are getting redundant.

    Consult the story for resources, and consult professionals for advice re repairs, installation, safety, adherence to local codes, etc.

  2. Donna Hopewell says:

    I have a house built in 1950 the porch door is a jalousie aluminum door in great shape! My question is, is there a way to lock it? under the handle there is a round knob. could this be an internal mechanism to lock it?
    Thank you

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      I don’t know the answer to this question. On issues relating to safety, consult with pros…

  3. Kenneth Clark says:

    How do I buy this door and have it installed? I live in Port Charlotte Florida. What is the price of the door?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Kenneth, I don’t sell anything. Consult the companies listed – the blue text are hotlinks to their websites.

  4. HoneyLady says:

    Pam always points out you MUST speak to “Professionals” when you work on your house. Listen to her!

    Please, please, please speak with a window contractor and YOUR LOCAL BUILDING DEPARTMENT before adding or replacing these jalousie windows !!

    NOTE FROM PAM — THE REMAINDER OF THIS COMMENT WAS EDITED. HoneyLady wanted to call particular attention to the issue of jalousie window safety requirements as they relate to emergency egress building codes / standards — that is, assessing whether your house/rooms/windows/etc are up to code when it comes to being about to escape from fires. I appreciate your underscoring this, HoneyLady; I edited the remainder of the comment because I felt like it was getting a bit too specific about safety advice. As HoneyLady says, get with pros for that!

    See my note within the story itself, which also notes some of the other comments readers have brought up; again, though, I am not the expert — get with pros to determine whether and how to use these windows safely:

    Important Note: Please check local building and fire safety codes about jalousie window safety requirements. For example, there is such as thing as egress standards aka emergency egress standards or codes — approved / mandated ways that must be in place to help escape from rooms in case of a fire. Find out from your local municipal professionals whether jalousie windows meet these standards given your planned application. Readers also have pointed out that these window may not be particularly energy efficient, and that they may be easier for burglars to breach. I am not the expert — consult with properly licensed professionals to determine whether and how to use these windows safely.

  5. Mammagrande says:

    Think of the cleaning! We lived in a fly zone, I almost o.d.’d on Windex 3 seasons… Btw, the slats are thicker than regular pane glass and are beveled–pretty tough stuff, survived my labors. Definitely belonged to the 3 season rooms & porches even with storm windows. Thanks for the photos; the owners of my childhood home had them all replaced!

  6. Rose says:

    I bought an older home and the front door has this window style int he “screen” door. But some of the glass is broken, how can I find replacement glass slats?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Rose, I don’t know the answer to this specifically. A few thoughts: Contact the companies on the list to see if they sell replacement slats. Or, try a local glass store (like a place that does shower doors) and see if they can get you a replacement. Good luck.

  7. Shambie says:

    I had to replace my jalousie windows because of the insurance companies in a coastal hurricane-prone zone in Florida. They are the best windows for providing maximum air flow! But I still have one narrow one in my pink bathroom they didn’t see, because there is no direct replacement for a window that size. And now we don’t even buy homeowner’s insurance any more anyway.
    Growing up, all the schools had them, and we had no air conditioner!

  8. betsy says:

    I purchased a 10 ft roll of clear vinyl channel to put on the jalousie windows on my porch. I am kinds confused now about where the channel goes. Top of the window of bottom of glass?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Betsy, I don’t know the answer to this. On questions like this, it’s best to reach out to the manufacturer or another licensed professional. Good luck.

Comments are closed.