Flash’s Short History of the World (Window Cleaning!)

Did you know that glass is one of the oldest materials around? Discovered in 7000 BC, but not organised and produced in Egypt until 4000 BC. The mass production of glass then occurred in the late 18th century.

The advent of the mass production of glass meant one thing, we needed innovative ways to clean it.

Hence the traditional rubber squeegee and applicator was born. This tool could meet the demand of glass in home, office/admin buildings and sky scrapers to name a few. The first squeegee was bulky, heavy and required the removal of twelve screws to change the rubber blade. This made window cleaning extremely slow and inefficient.

Enter Ettore Steccone who patented the modern single blade squeegee with a flexible and lightweight brass handle. He patented the invention and dubbed it the ‘New Deal’. This revolutionised the trade from 1936 and his squeegees are still used today. ‘Ettore’ is still a leading provider in squeegee development and wholesale. Coincidently, 1936 was the first time the ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ song was played by George Formby in the movie ‘Keep Your Seats, Please’. It was even banned by BBC for being ‘too racy’ at the time!. To have a listen to the song click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfmAeijj5cM.

Similarly, another man who took the squeegee industry by storm was Henry Unger. In 1964, Unger founded his name brand and began exporting the latest products from the United States to Germany. It was this initial kick start working from his Grandmothers basement that allowed Unger to become an innovative worldwide window cleaning brand. Since then, Unger continues to pride itself on working closely with cleaning professionals to create the best cleaning alternatives.

As buildings continued to get taller and more complex over the 20th century, the demand for safer methods of window cleaning became apparent. With accounts of window cleaners falling to serious injury or even death, safety had to improve.

Enter the Building Maintenance Unit. The BMU was made a key component to cleaning large drops of glass on sky scrapers and other buildings far too high to reach with extension or telescopic poles and safe than previous high rise window cleaning methods. These were produced by one main provider from 1955, E.W Cox who originated here in Australia. To this day the company employs over 350 BMU experts and teams of engineers who continue to improve the safety, accessibility and design of BMUs.

More so, there are continuous new ways to clean windows. A recent invention, the water fed pole allows cleaning with a brush, telescopic pole and purified water. These systems allow the highest quality clean at further heights from the ground where a squeegee and applicator fail. When the telescopic poles become too high, it can be extremely difficult to maintain pressure on the squeegee to perform a consistent clean. The water fed poles put ease into high reach cleaning.

The history of window cleaning is a unique and interesting story. Only upon the mass production of glass did the need for detailed glass cleaning become apparent. Since then, the cleaning tools and methods have evolved to meet the ongoing safety and efficiency demands of the window cleaning industry.

If you would like historically good all around service, visit: flashservices.com.au for more information.

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