As long as there have been windows, there has been a need for window cleaning.
The history of window cleaning goes hand in hand with the history of glass. While nobody knows for certain when or where glass was first made, it likely dates back as far as the 2nd millennium BC in ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia. It was, obviously, much less commonplace than today, and was considered very precious. It was even used in a sentence alongside gold in the Bible (Job 28:17). The art of glassblowing didn’t arrive until sometime around the end of the 1st century BC, and it finally started being mass produced during the mid to late 19th century. This is when it started being used to produce windows.
These first windows were cleaned by housewives or servants, with a simple solution, a bucket of water, and a cloth. It wasn’t until the construction boom–starting in 1860–that a demand for window cleaners came about.
Along Came The Squeegee
In the early 1900s, there was the Chicago squeegee. It didn’t look like the squeegee you know and love today. It was bulky and heavy, with 12 screws required to loosen or change the two pink blades. It was based off of tools fishermen used to scrape fish guts off boat decks. These were state of the art until 1936 when an Italian immigrant named Ettore Steccone designed and patented the modern-day squeegee, you know, a tool made of lightweight brass, with a single sharp, flexible rubber blade. Suitingly, it was dubbed the “Ettore.” Shockingly, Ettore Products Co. is still a leading provider of the modern day squeegee, and it is still a favorite among professionals. Ettore is absolutely synonymous with all things window and window cleaning.
The squeegee was the preferred tool choice for window cleaners up until the early 1990s. Then came the arrival of the water fed pole system. These systems use deionized water tanks to feed purified water through long poles, which then brush and rinse the dirt away and dry effortlessly leaving no streaks or smears. The poles, usually made from glass or carbon fibre, can reach up to 70 ft, so that window cleaners can work their magic standing safely on the ground. The water fed pole system is not only safer, but also keeps windows cleaner for longer. It’s no wonder most window cleaning companies today choose this system.
Who knows what future technology may hold, but one thing is for sure: as long as there are windows, there will be a need for window cleaning.