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Only wooden: why plastic windows were not installed in the USSR

Yulia PoteriankoLife
The Union had materials for comfortable windows, but there was no way to produce them

In Soviet-built buildings, we still replace old wooden windows with comfortable metal-plastic structures. And almost everyone who has to do this wonders why plastic windows were not used in the USSR. After all, both plastic and aluminum were produced in the country.

Moreover, in the 1980s, such windows could already be found on the territory of the Union. OBOZ.UA tried to understand the issue.

At the end of the Soviet period, the aforementioned plastic windows were more of a curiosity and were installed in single homes. The metal profile for them was imported from the Baltic countries closest to the West.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union continued to adhere to the planned economy and produce only those products approved by the country's leadership. Convenient windows were not included in these lists, as they were considered redundant.

At that time, there were no private producers who could have radically changed the situation. Just imagine that an entrepreneur appears in a Soviet city and starts installing metal-plastic structures. How many people would line up to see him and how much money he would make. But entrepreneurship in the USSR was effectively banned.

However, he would have faced considerable obstacles in his work, because Soviet enterprises did not work with polyvinyl chloride, a type of plastic used in windows. They also did not produce the necessary metal structures. Instead, wood was considered an affordable and easy-to-work with option.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and the technologies and materials needed to make metal-plastic windows found their way to the now-independent countries, it caused a real boom. These windows proved to be more reliable - they were better at keeping out noise and dust, and they were easier to clean than double-glazed windows and didn't need to be painted regularly. The demand was enormous. But the first plastic windows cost a lot of money and their presence in the house was a sign of the so-called "European renovation" that not everyone could afford. It was considered a sign of high status. However, over time, the number of productions increased, the price fell, and now such a frame is a common thing almost everywhere.

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