New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, July 30, 2007

Window Washer

Unfortunately I do not have a photo of a window washer on a skyscraper, but you get the idea. This is window washing in NYC - a job that has a lot of perks but not for the faint of heart. I have learned a number of things about window washing. It is dangerous. It's a good job for voyeurs. Stories and cliches abound about the things window washers see, propositions from the wife home alone and the access washers have to the homes of the wealthy. There are various ways to access windows such as scaffolding or window hooks and belts as seen in the photo. Some windows are accessed strictly by walking on a ledge with no safety equipment, just holding on with one's hands - this is how the windows of my office are cleaned. The squeegee is the tool of choice - most nonprofessionals are inclined to use paper towels or rags, which just moves the dirt around. The squeegee goes back to the squilgee of the middle ages used by fishermen to clean boat decks. The modern single-bladed version of today was invented by Italian immigrant and window washer Ettore Steccone in 1936. It continues to be manufactured and is the choice of pros. The composition of the rubber is still a closely guarded secret and apparently continues to give the Ettore the edge over the competition. The future of window washers, however, does not look that bright. Many innovations in windows have made washing easier such as telescopic and water fed poles. Most new windows tilt in way that they can be cleaned from the inside. And then there are windows made from self cleaning glass developed by Pilkington of the UK and also made by PPG, Asahi Glass Co., and Saint Gobain. The glass is manufactured with a special titanium dioxide photocatalytic coating - dirt is broken down by UV light and washed away by the rain ...

5 comments:

Lucy said...

I wonder if some of those stories are urban legends or wishful thinking, like the milkman having affairs with the housewives in the old days...
Still I think in NYC, you still get so many old buildings they will have to keep these people occupied (tho I have seen many windows that have never been washed...)

J$ said...

that's interesting about the squeegee. here's a shot a took of some guys washing windows while just dangling from a single rope each:
http://velvet-sea.blogspot.com/2006/11/hang-in-there.html

NorthBayPhoto said...

Great information and photo!

knicksgrl0917 said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until september...here is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

Neva said...

I would not want to be a window washer! Nice story!