There are literally thousands of facts about window washing that we could share with you. Washing windows may sound like a simple and easy job with no risks involved, but that’s hardly the case. The truth is, window washers are more daredevils that people know. They undertake tough jobs with unexpected problems solve. Oftentimes, they’re risking life and limb to get the perfect shine on windows that are much sort after.
Aside from soaking yourself with your own bucket of water, here are eight facts about window washing.
1. The Job Will Be Done When It’s Done
Some of the big skyscrapers really are a long term job. For instance, The Hearst Tower in New York takes around a month to clean from top to bottom. But the Time Warner Center needs a team of six window cleaners. It usually takes four months to clean all eighty of its glass walls!
2. People Throw Things Out of The Windows
This is especially true in New York. So window washers have more to contend with than just removing bird muck of the windows. On one occasion, a window washer had to deal with ten gallons of strawberries that were thrown out then froze onto the windows.
3. World’s Tallest Window Washing Job
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in the world. Obviously, it presents some unique problems when it comes to giving the windows a gleaming shine. It has 1,292,500 square feet of glass. The company responsible for the job has over $6 million worth of high tech equipment to complete the task. No mere buckets for this job!
4. New York is the Home of the Window Cleaning Trade
With all those skyscrapers, it’s not surprising that the window cleaning trade, as we know it today, developed in New York. At its height in 1931, there were 3,000 windows cleaners in the city.
5. Glass as a Luxury Item
Glass itself has been around for a very long time and has been used to make decorative items going back thousands of years. But for a long time, it was considered to be a luxury item. The roots of modern glass came about in the 1600’s. This is when the idea of adding lead to the glass mix for ease of use was discovered. And where there was glass, there was someone who had to clean it!
6. Facts About Window Washing Using Scaffolds
The scaffolding used to clean higher windows was first introduced in New York in 1952 by the Otis Elevator Company. The original World Trade Center was one of the first buildings to have machines cleaning its windows when it opened in 1973. However, the scaffolds were a bit temperamental, prone to breaking down and couldn’t manage the upper floors.
As of 2013, there was still one of these machines being used in Manhattan.
7. The Squeegee
An essential part of any window cleaner’s kit is his squeegee. But the invention of this useful little tool started out in Chicago in the early 20th century. They were a little different than the modern product. To change the rubber blade; first, one had to loosen 12 screws!
8. Dangers of the Job
Working at such heights is very dangerous and even with safety equipment, there are deaths. In May 1962, four window cleaners were killed in New York when a scaffold fell from the Equitable Building. Unfortunately, it was still another 31 years before New York’s window cleaning union introduced a safety program.
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