In the early 17th century, the concept of all glass orangeries came about by enthusiastic travelers who were discovering new worlds, with exotic plants that gardeners wanted to propagate back in England.
The Conservatory may have started out as a Greenhouse, however as the collected plants became more exotic the rooms became more for people as well who wished to enjoy them.
As raw goods such as glass and steal became more available and less expensive historic homes (and homeowners) were introduced to a new concept…the addition! By the 19th century both private and public Conservatory construction was flourishing in cooler climates all over the world.
The economic downfall of the 1920′s was particularly harsh on the Conservatory industry. In lean times the Conservatory space was deemed a useless expenditure. As homes were being made more comfortable with central heating less advanced materials for Conservatories made the rooms relatively uncomfortable.
Teddy Roosevelt removed the 3 conservatories that were once flourishing on the White House itself (see picture of Mrs. McKinley at Christmas in the White House conservatory).
Modern architecture design was not the shining era of the Victorian Conservatory. Many curved eave ‘solariums’ were built during this period.
Fortunately, good design always prevails and over the last 20 years we have seen a tremendous re-birth of conservatories all over the world.