Although architects may know these terms and even use them often, the history and source of these terms in relation to their modern usage was in fact an interesting journey for me while researching them. Aside from their alphabetical first letter, there was neither rhyme nor reason as to their selection, other than the etymological ancestry. Here are 'I' through 'P'.
Incandescent – As in the light bulbs quickly receding into obscurity; incandescent comes from the Latin incadescere, to glow white. Electrical current runs through a wire filament at a high temperature in order to produce visible light. Over 20 inventors of incandescent lamps are recognized prior to Thomas Edison, however, he included his lamp in a viable system able to provide electric lighting to towns. The term can also be used as an adjective to describe many architects.
|Edison's patent for the light bulb.|
Jalousie – A type of window or shade that is made from overlapping, angled slats of wood or even glass. Pronounced Jal-oh-SEE. The word literally means ‘jealousy’ in French. Seems to be a reference to the ability to look outside without being seen, in order to guard your possessions. It won't meet any energy conservation awards, however.
|A Jalousie window we used to have in our house. Jealous? No.|
Knob – as in door. Probably from Low German ‘knobbe’ for a knot in wood or perhaps a knoll, or isolated, round hill. I try to avoid grassy knolls myself. And book depositories. Dead as a door knob takes on another meaning in architecture, because door levers are the standard for accessibility, and knobs are more rarely used in commercial buildings. Kentuck Knob, a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Western PA, is an example of the round hill definition.
|A nice door knob in Murano, Italy.|
|Kentuck Knob is built just to the side of the hill, rather than on the hill, in typical Wright fashion.|
Lintel – a load bearing member across an opening in a wall, regularly seen in a door or window. This word derives from the Latin ‘limen’, which means threshold. This is very nearly the opposite of a lintel in architectural terms, one above a door and the other below – curious.
|You can see concrete lintels over three openings in this CMU wall. Often the structure is hidden.|
|Exposed lintels can be extremely decorative, such as this example from Duke Street in Lancaster.|
|Bags of Type S Mortar on site. The mixing vessel can be a wheelbarrow or a specialized mixer, seen in the background.|
|Brick nogging in half-timber framework.|
|One of the more famous oculi - in the roof of the Pantheon.|
|Mercer Castle, or Fonthill, was built in the early 1900's for the tile maker in Doylestown, Pa.|
|Walls, roofs. window frames & mullions, and stairs are all made of concrete, possible because of Portland Cement.|
Coming soon: "P through W" Should be interesting.