Static cling window film has been around for over 50 years. It is used for a variety of reasons, including to prevent heat or AC loss through windows, to minimize heat entering through windows form outside, to block harmful radiation from the sun, and to afford those inside building some privacy. But where and when did the idea for static window film come into being?
The concept of window film being used as a way of blocking out the solar rays and controlling heating and cooling imbalances between the inside and outside has actually been around since the 1960s. Before the ‘60s, spray on metallic paints were used directly on the glass, but these were ugly and not as effective.
Even early films were not as developed as modern films, requiring constant reapplication and in some cases the use of heat to adhere them to glass. These early films would reflect most solar radiation, minimizing the heat that was entering inside surfaces, but still providing an uninterrupted view through the window glass.
The 3M Company was one of the first companies to hold a patent for sun control window films, with the first patent being issued in 1966. They combined the metallic spray on coatings with thin layers of clear polyester film to create the first sun control window films which were marketed in the US.
In 1969, clear films were much in demand in Europe, and #M widened their market to include clear films that would hold broken glass together in the event of bombings. These films led to strengthening of the original films, which served well when newer, thinner types became popular for interior use in residential homes in the US.
During the 1970s, the quickly ramped up energy crisis lead to the development of another aspect of window film; since polyester film tended to absorb and reradiate infrared heat, low E window films were developed to keep man-made heat inside buildings.
Most window film is made from a polyester base material, and then coated with materials to block heat, light and UV rays. Early window films were basically colored polyester film that provided only limited UV, heat and glare protection.
Metalized coatings changed the game; metal (often aluminum) can be super-heated in an electric furnace to form a vapor which is passed over the polyester film, depositing a thin metal coating that serves to both reflect heat and reduce the temperature inside the building.
NASA changed the game again when seeking ways to protect astronauts; they used an old method of metal depository known as sputtering to layer metal molecules across the polyester base, allowing a variety of metal coatings and creating “smart” films that would block heat but still let in maximum light.
Of course, interior decorators quickly raised a demand for film that was tinted and colored, and metallic shades like silver / grey, gold, bronze, amber and many other shades were quickly invented.
Those interested in conserving energy also found uses for window films both for residential and commercial use. 3M was quickly followed by similar companies, including the Meiwa Company in Shanghai. They began creating not only static cling window film, but other polyester based products as well, including table cloths and other easy to clean, reusable items.
Customers can choose what they want their static cling window film to provide – whether it is heat blocking, radiation blocking, high visibility, privacy, or décor. Window film can block the heat, protect furnishings and curtains against fading, allow a perfect view without a reciprocal one from the street, or reduce glare for those watching Tv or sititng at a computer.
Choosing the right window film can both save you money and enhance the looks of your home or office.