Transom (architectural)

Transom (architectural)

In architecture, a transom is the term given to a horizontal glazing bar which is framed across a window, dividing it into stages or heights.

Transom is the customary U.S. word for a traditionally fixed window over a door or an operating sash window. cite web |url= |title=The Efficient Windows Collaborative: Glossary |accessdate=2007-12-13] cite web |url= |title=What is a transom window? |publisher=Big Blue Window |accessdate=2007-12-13] In England, the transom above a door is usually referred to as a fanlight, and occasionally as an "overlight", or by the French word "vasistas".cite web |url= |title=Euro Dictionary: Vavistas |accessdate=2007-12-13] The word "fanlight" derives from the fan-like shape of early transoms, which became a traditional part of the Georgian style.cite web |url= |title=Georgian Revival in Buffalo, NY |publisher=The University of Buffalo |accessdate=2007-12-13] "Vasistas" sounds similar to the German phrase "was ist das?" ("what is that?"); hence folk etymology ascribes its origin to a visiting German's reaction to seeing a transom during a trip to France.cite web |url= |title=A Droll Tale |publisher=The New York Times |accessdate=2007-12-13]


In early Gothic ecclesiastical work, transoms are only found in belfry unglazed windows or spire lights, where they were deemed necessary to strengthen the mullions in the absence of the iron bars, which in glazed windows served a similar purpose. In the later Gothic, and more especially the Perpendicular Period, the introduction of transoms became common in windows of all kinds.cite web |url= |title=The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed. |publisher=Project Gutenberg |accessdate=2007-12-13]

Idiomatic Usage

*The phrase over the transom refers to works submitted for publication without being solicited. The image evoked is of a writer tossing a manuscript through the open window over the door of the publisher's office.cite web |url= |title=What Does Over The Transom Mean? |publisher=About Freelance Writing |accessdate=2007-12-13]

*Similarly, the phrase is used to describe the means by which confidential documents, information or tips were delivered anonymously to someone who is not officially supposed to have them. [ [] DA Morganthau Cites "Over the Transom" Letter as root of fraud investigation]

*"Like pushing a piano through a transom" is a folk idiom used to describe something exceedingly difficult; its application to childbirth (and possibly its origin) has been attributed to Alice Roosevelt Longworth and Fannie Brice.

ee also



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