I’m making models of authentic Western homes/ranches. Can you tell me more about the use of glass in the Old West?

I’m making models of authentic Western homes/ranches. Can you tell me more about the use of glass in the Old West?

Randy Giesey

Wheeling, Illinois

Glass windows became available in the West soon after emigrants pioneered the region. It was shipped into new settlements just like any other product. For protection against Indian attacks and cold temperatures, folks generally placed thick wooden shutters outside the windows.

Even the early Pueblo Indians of the Southwest recognized the need to let light into their dwellings. Since they hadn’t developed the process of making glass, they used natural materials such as mica for their windows. You couldn’t see through mica, but it did let in the sunlight.

The Time-Life “Old West” series showcases some wonderful photos of buildings and dwellings from that period. Many libraries throughout the West also offer period photographs of buildings in their archives.

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