Did you know that skylights are an ancient architectural design? It makes sense because back then people didn’t have electricity to light up dark rooms. So their only source of light came from the sun, moon and maybe candles & fire torches.



Today skylights are still used in modern homes. They add natural light, optimise ventilation and give you a splendid view of the sky. If you want one installed in your ceiling and you live in Australia there are skylights Adelaide, Melbourne & Sydney and all major cities’ service providers can assist you with. In the meantime, let’s delve into the history of these convenient ceiling windows.

Where Did the Idea of Skylights Originate?

In ancient times openings in ceilings were used to let in natural light from the sun. The earliest form of skylights was developed using holes cut out of domed ceilings and these gaps were known as oculi (Latin for eye). Structures older than the Pantheon had openings in their ceilings but larger buildings didn’t utilise these holes because of rain. For bigger holes, lantern-shaped coverings were added to protect the inside of the building from the elements while still providing sunlight and ventilation. Glassmaking during this time was still being developed but there were myriads of examples of roof lanterns leading up to the 14th century.

Photo By: Flegel’s Construction Co., Inc.

The First to Use Glass in Architecture

Romans were the first civilisation to use glass in their architectural structures. Glass was also the main item of trade outside of the Roman Empire. In 1000AD the construction of windows started to feature glazing and by the end of the 13th century, the glass industry was booming in Venice. A Venetian by the name of Angelo Barovier invented clear glass panes (called Cristallo) in 1480. The clear glass was see-through because it was missing green and yellow tints created from iron oxide. Although people could get glass that was clear and in different shades, it was still too difficult to make larger panes. The larges panes of glass were only 3ft tall.

Since glass was difficult to make in bigger panes and it was expensive, small panels were used to build windows for castles & lanterns for cathedrals.

The French Perfected Glass Structures

Although the Romans invented glass structures the French perfected it. Way before the industrial revolution France had the latest technology to create architectural glass. The earliest form of a skylight structure can be seen on the Halle bles in Paris which was built between 1763 and 1767.

However, the Halle aux bles was still the same constructions found in ancient Roman buildings. So the French took their glass architectural skills to new heights by adding a long glass ceiling to the Galerie des Batailles in 1830.

Photo By: E. B. Mahoney Builders, Inc.

Changes in Design Through the Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution paved the way for skylight design because during this time larger sheets of glass could be made using machines. These panels of glass were between 6ft and 9ft in length and they were polished to a glossy finish. During this time sheet metal was also in production so glazing could be used to seal openings and cracks in ceiling structures. Skylights became fully functional so they could provide more light and ventilation without the risk of water leaking in from rain.

The industrial revolution made it possible for skylights to be installed in smaller buildings as well as residential homes. But these skylights still leaked slightly. Someone needed to further perfect the structure. Let’s travel forward to the 1940s in this next section.

Through to Denmark in the 1940s

Villum Kann-Rasmussen was a Danish businessman from a small town in Copenhagen and he set out to develop a skylight that never leaked. He used wooden frames, condensation drains and zinc cladding to improve on his design that would let sunlight in but keep the rain out. This innovative businessman also invented the PU-25 hinge used to open the glass structure so it could be cleaned without hassle. Thus his innovations resulted in the term roof window which was coined in 1941 by Villum. Thanks to Villum’s innovative design, skylights today are durable and leak-free.

Photo By: Miller + Miller Architectural Photography

Do Skylights Come in A Variety of Designs?

There are many skylight designs that you can opt for such as:

* Domed
* Pyramid
* Square
* Barrel fault

There are also three types of skylights to pick from:

* Fixed
* Ventilated
* Tubular

How to Select a Skylight for Your Ceiling

Before picking a skylight, think what exactly you want it for. Is it for aesthetic appeal or to add natural light to a room? If you want both then opt for a skylight that’s big and complements the shape of your room & ceiling. If you want a skylight that’s convenient, pick a tubular fixture or one that can open like a window.

Final Thoughts

Do you want a skylight to illuminate your room and give you a dose of sunlight? Then opt for any skylights installation Adelaide service providers have on offer and you’re sure to love the effect. Let the professionals do the work so you can have a quality skylight that will never leak.