15 February 2012 By Billy Hawkins
Initially a combination of iron, wood and glass was used by the Victorians in their glass house constructions.
Many of them have stood the test of time and can still be seen around parks, hospitals, schools and large private houses up and down the UK. Aluminium had been discovered in the early 1800’s but was not commercially exploited because it was never found in its natural form as a pure metal, and certainly initially this was a complicated and expensive process to extract. By the late 1880’s progress had been made and by the 1890’s it began to be produced in industrial proportions and designers and engineers became more creative in its’ use. One of its’ key properties is the low density; it is one third the weight of steel, it is also highly resistant to most forms of corrosion, is non-magnetic, non-toxic and non combustible, and can be recycled;all highly desirable elements for diverse usage.
The versatility of aluminium as a metal is complemented by the versatility of the extrusion process. Other metals can be extruded but few with the ease of aluminium and its alloys. Aluminium’s high strength-to-weight ratio, and its ability to be extruded into any shape – no matter how complex, with tight tolerances, makes it an ideal material for design applications which require maximum versatility from a cross-sectional area, such as a greenhouse.
Therefore it was the natural metal to turn to for the 20th century development of the Messenger Greenhouse system; the principles of which can be seen throughout our product ranges. The functionality combined with an aesthetic quality, so beloved of the Victorians is very evident today and aluminium makes a lot of this possible.