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A brief look at bow windows, plus how they compare with bay windows

Bow windows image by Joe Clemson (via Shutterstock).
Attractive: bow windows come into their own with balconies, as seen in this image by Joe Clemson (via Shutterstock).
How do bow windows differ from bay windows? The most obvious difference lies in their shape. Typically, they are rounded: rounded bay windows if you prefer. To say they are rounded bay windows is too simplistic.

 

Bow windows have been around since the eighteenth century. They are also referred to as compass windows. Some bow windows have pillars in between windows, for instance in stone or brick form. Some are semicircular from left to right without a pillar in sight. The latter are a common sight on some houses.

Bow windows come into their own with wooden frames and metal frames. The flexibility of both materials – especially wooden window frames – allows for a seamless semicircular frame. With PVC-U windows, replicating the seamless curved bows is less fluent. If you look closely, the inner obtuse angles of each window is apparent.

Not only on buildings…

One of the most famous uses of bow windows is seen on HMS Victory. They are seen on the back of the ship, which played an important role in The Battle of Trafalgar. The historic ship, docked at Portsmouth, has been preserved as a museum ship since 1922.

HMS Victory, Portsmouth. Image by Jitloac (via Shutterstock).
Iconic: HMS Victory, Portsmouth. Image by Jitloac (via Shutterstock).
Chartwell Wooden Windows, 19 June 2017.

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