fbpx bloglovinBloglovin iconCombined ShapeCreated with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. rssRSS iconsoundcloudSoundCloud iconFill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. SearchCreated with Lunacy Search iconCreated with Sketch.

Jalousie Jealousy: The Story of the Jalousie Window

Jalousie Jealousy: The Story of the Jalousie WindowThe jalousie window (pronounced jaluh-see) exploded onto the scene in the middle of the last century. I find that people either love them or hate them, with no middle ground for compromise. It’s almost so polarizing that jalousie windows have become the third forbidden topic at family gatherings right after politics and religion.

In many ways, it is the perfect window- with more glass and less frame to block your view. More ventilation as well with all the movable slats. You could even open the windows during a torrential downpour and stay dry inside.

I figured that as much as I address windows on this blog, the jalousie windows deserves its time in the sun as well. I’ll give you my opinion at the end, but for now, let’s looks at the jalousie window, its history and future.

The History of Jalousie Windows

Believe it or not, the idea for the jalousie window is not as new as you might think. They were patented in Nov. 26, 1901 by Joseph W. Walker of Malden, Massachusetts. The fact that a New Englander came up with the idea surprises me a bit since jalousies were so prevalent in mild climates, but hey, gotta give the guy credit.

Even though the patent was approved in 1901, the idea didn’t catch on until the middle of the last century. Jalousie windows were mostly found on homes in southern climates where the winters were more mild in nature. In colder climates, they appeared on enclosed porches and three-season rooms.

They were a new and futuristic product for a new time in America where the future was all the rage. Couple their exciting new design with the fact that they provided a lot of potential air flow, as well as more unobstructed views of the outdoors, and people were sold.

Mid-century homes, historical cusp homes, and older homes looking to enclose their porches for more space all signed up and jalousie sales went through the roof from the late 1940s through the late 1960s before the energy crises of the 1970s finally sealed their fate.

The Problem with Jalousie Windows?

As an architectural element on a mid-century house, there ain’t nothing wrong a well maintained jalousie window. Okay, well, maybe just a few things, but architecturally speaking, they are a timely and attractive option. But there are two big problems with jalousies.

  1. Security – Jalousie windows are possibly one of the simplest windows to break into. The individual glass slats can actually be removed quite easily and quietly by simply prying a metal tab up. You don’t even get the sound of breaking glass to wake you up and let you know someone is breaking in. Once burglars figured that out, it wasn’t long before they started making the rounds.
  2. Energy-Efficiency – Once we started air conditioning our homes, the jalousie was a terrible source of air leaks. In all fairness, jalousies were designed before air conditioning was in every home, and in that situation, they work great, but they are, without a doubt, the most leaky window ever made with no hope of weatherstripping, since the gaps are between each pane of glass.

Jalousies Today

jalousie windowI have a very two sided relationship with jalousie windows. When I see a unique mid-century modern house with jalousies, I marvel at its sleek crisp appearance. But when I see a Craftsman Bungalow with a front porch enclosed with jalousies, I cringe and fight back the urge to grab my sledge hammer.

To me, jalousies have their place and that place is on a mid-century house. Installed on any other architectural style, they look cheap and out of place. But that’s just me. What are your thoughts?

For more reading, there is a great catalogue uploaded to archive.org all about Ludman Jalousies that even comes with cross sections, pricing, assembly and installation instructions to help you repair your jalousies. It also contains some great pictures and illustrations.

Subscribe Now For Your FREE eBook!

35 thoughts on “Jalousie Jealousy: The Story of the Jalousie Window

  1. What a foolish opinion. Jalosie Windows existed decades before the mid century modern craze (as you said) and also after. I will never get rid of mine in Vero Beach. Apparently you people enjoy feeling like you’re living in an office building with all the windows closed up.

    1. The author did mention that the patent was of 1901. However, the jealous window didn’t have As many Sales as it did During the mid century during any other stretch in and of time. Also, sales were larger in the South. As opposed to the area the creator was from and my guess, the location of the jealousy’s original manufacturing facility, being Massachusetts- in the north. But that doesn’t mean that the windows were not installed in the North.. I can attest to that.
      As far as energy efficiency, I think properly installed with weather stripping like the ones I have really aren’t that bad. But solar radiant heat gain on the south wall is pretty high and appreciated only in the winter. Another but, the aluminum frame has – insulating value. The thick glass however, is better than the double hung single pane window from the same Era.
      Unlike many jalosie’s I’ve seen, my windows are tight and on a windy day the curtains don’t move.
      I like my jalosie windows on my mid century house. Orignally, he whole house had them. Now just the, as it’s called up here, Florida room. Get it?

      1. I love my jealousy windows but haven’t found a person to replace repair them. I also have them in the Florida roof. If you know anyone that fixes them I would really appreciate the info. Thanks! Enjoy them.

  2. Has anyone tried using a piece of tempered glass in place of the screen during the winter? I don’t know if it’s even possible but thought the screen clips MAY hold a piece of glass? I really don’t want plastic.

  3. I’m looking for replacement parts for Kaufman Jalousie Windows. I have a 1950 ranch near Detroit. The Kaufman company was based in Detroit but no longer exists. These windows have a unique geared crank and window lift. Any info would be helpful. Thanks!

    1. vince what parts are you looking for ? i think Uni Jal parts are interchangeable might be easier to find i think they are still in business.

  4. I grew up in a house in South Miami, built in the 1940s with a Florida Room. The windows on the Florida Room were WOODEN JALOUSIES. Wooden so that they could be opened to let in the air but keep the room cooler by not letting in as much light. Then, when the heat of the afternoon was over you went back into the living room. That’s what Florida Rooms were for at that the time: a place to be when it was too hot to be inside and too hot to be outside. If you give me an email, i’ll send you a 50s era picture my house which was originally designed and built with wooden jalousie windows.

  5. I recently purchased a 1971 double-wide in a beautiful Mobile Home Park in the west coast of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. I love the jalousie windows for all of the reasons mentioned. I keep my air conditioner on 79 and the house stays cool so I’m not having any of those leaking problems people are speaking of. A lot of people around here have replaced their Jalousie windows with straight up and down regular windows and I am not even thinking about it. Having grown up in the sixties and seventies I love holding onto things because we all know they don’t make them like they used to.


    1. Hi… cleaning out my dad’s estate and found an aluminum door with Oliver’s and side light panels in both a blue and gold color to change out for a different look, I guess. If I take a picture of the door, would you be able to tell me if you have any info on it??? Very unique entry door.
      Thanks for any help,
      Lisa S

    2. Hi Frank,
      Yes, Your Cousin Barbara (Aunt Anna’s Granddaughter) I was just telling friends about your families Jalousie windows. Clever folks. Hope you all are doing well.
      you can find me on Face book would love to hear about you and the family.
      Love, Barbara

  7. So can anyone tell me where to find some in Florida? I’m looking to replace a full jalousie entry door that’s sagging. Everything I’ve found so far has been in the NE, Hawaii, or the Virgin Islands & shipping is prohibitive. I have storm shutters outside of the doors, so hurricane protection is not an issue. Thanks!

    1. You can actually order them from Home Depot. They are manufactured by Tafco. I bought a small window. Not cheap but really cool, especially if you grew up with these windows like I did. I will incorporate them into our new home… I did find a really nice set on Ebay to insert into a door.

  8. Hi,
    Biggest benefit is they cost much less than other kinds, when replacing older windows, but dust and dirt settle on them quickly; they need to be cleaned at least every 2 weeks if you want to enjoy clear views with them half open, and cleaning them is a chore. Regular windows can go for months without needing to be cleaned. Been through a number of cyclones, including category 5, and they never broke. i am not a fan of the green lines in an ocean view. i came here while searching for any information about using a window vac on them..can you? Does it work?

  9. Live in Puerto Rico 1967 building with jelowsies.. love then for their sleak look. They survived hurricane Maria. With hurricane shutteers on the outside of the 5th floor. Looking to put some artscape over each slide to block some light hope it works.

  10. My husband and I are currently under contract for a 1915 brick bungalow. It was built for the town doctor, who had his practice at the house. The room he saw his patients in (now a family room) is large, with jelousy windows running along two walls. The next owners solved the loss of heat/air by adding framed storm windows inside the house and wooden shutters over those. Pretty neat idea as we can take them down if wanted. The windows work beautifully (already tried them).

  11. I’ve lived in older trailers most of my life – most had jalousie windows. Fire safety and ability to escape is another reason why they’re no longer used. However i love them in Oregon’s drippy mild climate – keep out the vertical rain while letting in fresh air. My 1968 Aloha camp trailer still has them, and i’ve got a handy bedside hammer to break out the back fixed glass window should i need to escape quick. 🙂 Style!!!!

    1. Hi Jane,
      Thanks so much for sharing. We love hearing everyone’s stories and experiences across the globe. 🙂
      -Alyssa at The Craftsman Blog

  12. I first encountered them when I was working with a Habitat for Humanity project in the Philippines. They were common in houses where people could afford glass windows. I learned from experience that they won’t keep out typhoon-driven rain!

  13. Here in the Desert Southwest, Jalousies are often found on older homes which have Evaporative Cooling ONLY. When you’re running a swamp cooler, windows must be opened in order for the humidity to leave the home. Jalousies are quickly replaced when a house is upgraded to refrigeration HVAC as they are quite leaky. That said, they are still often found on porches to turn them into “Arizona Rooms” and provide an additional few months of use.

    I remember Jalousie windows in my Grandparents’ Airstream Trailer back in the ’60s.

    I remain,
    The Old Soldering Gunslinger

  14. The new Breezway jalousies are beautiful, hurricane proof, energy efficient and come with security options. 21st Century Jalouises. I have them in my house and love them for light and airflow.

    1. Looked these up, Megan and they are awesome. Contacted the company as they are made by Jeld Wen but look to be only in Hawaii and I am in Florida. I’m assuming shipping could make them too expensive.

      Thanks for the link though.


  15. All of our windows are jalousies,we live in Vero Beach Fl. in a 80 something year old wooden home.I just looked up jalousies because to me they are safer for hurricanes.Hurricane Irma is headed up the coast tonight.Also my childhood home had them.I find them quaint and charming .

  16. Basically every building in Hawaii, where we live, has jalousies and I hate them so much. (Although sometimes it’s nice to break in easily when you’ve locked your keys inside!) On really windy days, papers will blow around indoors even though the windows are “closed” as “tightly” as possible, and they’re a nuisance to dust.

    Anyway, I saw this post while browsing through your articles on restoring old windows. Thanks to you, I’ve convinced my husband we need to restore the windows in a 1908 farmhouse on the Mainland we’ll be working on this summer! Thanks so much for the great instructions. =)

  17. I have them on the back porch of my Chicago Bungalow. Like them in the summer, hate them for the rest of the year.
    So I think they work better in FLA than midwest. But my biggest gripe is cleaning them! Very labor intensive.

  18. Our home built in the 50’s, concrete block, Spanish tile roof with wide overhang, jalousie windows, terrazzo floors, attic fan, metal Venetian blinds . No air conditioning. No carpeting or rugs. The house was of the period and lovely. A simpler way of living. Located in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where they are still fairly common.

  19. I have a two sided relationship with them too. Having lived in a South Florida condo with many mild winter days and with the larger 3 pane jalousie windows, the fresh air coming through is a blessing. I also loved when there was rain and because the panes were large it acted like an umbrella preventing water from getting in when you had them open. But…during hurricanes, and I went through quiet a few, It is scary because even with the hurricane panels secured, the wind would still get in and rattle the heck out of the windows. Picture this, going to sleep with both of my cats figuratively glued to my legs because they were so scared during a hurricane. My jalousie windows are grandfathered in. And because in South Florida you need a permit to replace windows, they are no longer allowed when replacing them. So I do see the benefit of the newer hurricane pane windows that are used in South Florida, which meet the tougher hurricane codes. I don’t particularly like the look of the smaller pane jalousie windows, but the large pane ones I do. They are not as energy efficient either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.