By the time sheet glass began to be manufactured, the Aristocrats and merchants of Europe had become very rich with the growing trade with Africa, India, the Far East, and the West Indies. They desired to develop gardens and populate their homes with the exotic plants of the East. The manufacture of excellent quality of sheet glass was a boon for them and they started adding and constructing Conservatories for their stately homes.
The Conservatories that the Aristocrats and rich merchants built were heated to protect the plants and seedlings they brought back from the East and Africa, from the harsh European winters. The Aristocrats and merchants could at last enjoy their gardens every day and all year round. The early Conservatories were built from brick and mortar with wide and huge areas with glass sheets between columns and a solid roof. During the Industrial Revolution, the use of cast iron with cheaper and better quality glass, allowed architects to design and construct delicate Conservatories where glass was predominant.
This led to the designing and building of ‘The Crystal Palace’ for the 1851 London Exhibition. The successful construction and design of the Crystal Palace was the beginning of the standard design of a Conservatory for the middle class of the Victorian era. As tastes and perceptions changed, the Conservatories became more and more ornate and decorative and were used for formal tea parties and for lovers to meet in solitude.
By the early 20th century, most of the cast iron Conservatories were decaying due to the harsh winter and rusting of the iron columns. In the later years, very few new conservatories were built as houses were built better to withstand the winter and were more comfortable. Middle class people just could not afford the upkeep of the Conservatories, and therefore new Conservatories were not built as much as before.
In the early 1970s, the development of new material like float glass, and new construction techniques like sealed double-glazing, sparked an interest in Conservatories again. In the current scenario, people are more prosperous, with large homes, and can afford building a Conservatory with modern materials. The maintenance and upkeep of these modern Conservatories is not expensive and it does lend a classy touch to the home. A home owner can build a Conservatory with materials like aluminum. PVC, wood, and of course the best glass that money can buy. Besides the materials, there are many styles that the home owner can choose from depending on what suits the design on the house. new conservatory roof