May 2023: Windows, the Choices are Numerous

Number 111, May 2023

Bo, one of our grandsons, received his Eagle Scout rank at a ceremony in Tennessee this past month. He is the first grandson to make Eagle. Eagle is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.

Although (in my opinion) the Boy Scouts have made some unwise compromises and are not what they used to be, there are many well known people who are Eagle Scouts (once an Eagle, always an Eagle). They include people such as:


Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon.

Roger Chaffee, astronaut killed in Apollo 1 disaster.

Mike Rowe, host of “Dirty Jobs.” 

Steven Spielberg, filmmaker. 

Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.

Philo T. Farnsworth, an inventor you probably don’t know, but who invented the modern television. 

Don Garlits, engineer and father of drag racing. 

John Tesh, pianist, composer and Emmy winning TV host.

Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice.

Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States. 

Ross Perot, founder of Electronic Data Systems and presidential candidate.

Rex Tillerson, Former CEO of Exxon/Mobil.

Stephen Bechtel, Jr, founder of Bechtel Corp., the largest construction and civil engineering firm in America. 

J. W. Marriott, Jr., CEO of Marriott International 

Thomas Norris, Navy SEAL, won Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam.

Mitchell Paige, Medal of Honor winner at Guadalcanal during WWII.

From the Desk of Bill

This past month, Kandy (aka Gramma) and I spent a weekend in the Knoxville area where we lived for about ten years. Bo, one of our grandsons, was receiving his Eagle Scout rank at a Court of Honor ceremony. He is the first grandson to earn Eagle.

I was in the Boy Scouts for several years, but did not even get close to being an Eagle. I made Second Class – the same rank actor and Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart earned.

The little round patches on Bo’s sash are Merit Badges. They are earned when you study a particular subject such as first aid, swimming or lifesaving. Earning the rank of Eagle means you have mastered a number of different subjects and earned badges for them. 

The trip up and back was nice. We often avoid the Interstates and did so on this trip. The back roads take us through small towns that are fun to explore. Granted, the travel time is longer, but since we enjoy the journey, that is not a bad thing. 

Towards the end of May, we will make another trip to the Knoxville area. This time a grandson, Jacob, is graduating from high school. He is considering going to school for either civil or structural engineering at the University of Tennessee (in Knoxville). His daddy, our son-in-law, is a professional engineer at the local power coop.

As a fun (at least to me) side note, James White, the founder of Knoxville, is my 4th great granduncle. He and his five brothers fought in America’s War for Independence in 1776.

Jacob’s older brother is about a year away from his engineering (electrical, I believe) degree at UT. Jacob’s older sister is studying economics at the local community college.

Interestingly, the local branch of the community college is in the old Philips engineering building where I worked designing televisions for about ten years. Philips shut down the engineering effort here in the states a few years after I left and eventually sold their building to Pellissippi Community College. They offer some courses the grands needed, but for others, they had to drive to the main campus.

When Mandy and Jessy opened Colleton Coffee, they wanted to sell books as well as beverages. They located a book wholesale company in the Knoxville area. It turns out the book company is now in another ex-Philips building where the old projection televisions were built back before flat panel sets.

Sometimes, it seems like a really small world.



Jessy is another Willis Sinclair employee you have probably not seen. She is our youngest daughter.

Jessy helps with book work, back office activities and our website.

This photo taken with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster was taken at a meeting in Aiken last year.

Jessy has an online clothing company ( She is also half owner of Twig, a boutique, and Colleton Coffee – both in downtown Walterboro.

Windows, the choices are numerous

Back in the day, large panels of glass were expensive, so you did not see too many large open (without grids) windows. The ones you did see were quaintly called “picture windows.” 

In order to keep the costs down and probably to minimize breakage, windows had dividers in them. A window could then be made of a number of small panes. Each pane is called a lite. 

Today, you can still purchase windows with Authentic (or True) Divided Lite (ADL or TDL), but they have downsides. One thing is that they are not as thermally efficient as other choices since the wood framing passes through the window from the outside to the inside. Although wood does not conduct heat extremely well, it conducts it much better than a vacuum or some inert gas. ADL windows are also best for single pane (non-insulated) glass which is typically not used in exterior applications.


ADL (Authentic Divided Lite)

These are how old windows were made. The wood grids actually divided the window sash into a number of small openings (lites). The lites can be single pane as they were for years. If they are used for double pane windows, you have the problem of not being able to get between the panes to repaint.

In order to make a double pane window and make it look like the old authentic divided lites, the SDL (Simulated Divided Lites) window was developed.


SDL (Simulated Divided Lite)


Simulated divided lites have grids attached to the surface of the window glass. On double pane windows, there is nothing (except typically an inert gas such as argon) between the panes. This makes the window thermally efficient.


SDL windows look like ADL grids from a distance, but when you get close and look at an angle, you can see there is nothing between the panes of glass. 


SDLS (simulated Divided Lite with a Spacer Bar)


By adding a small aluminum bar inside the panes of glass behind the surface grid, the void is filled. Since aluminum is a good conductor of heat you might think this would compromise the thermal efficiency of the window. It turns out, it is actually a rectangular aluminum tube (as you can see in the drawing), so the aluminum connecting the two pieces of glass is very small.

If you remove the outside grids then you have the fourth version of divided lites where the grid is only between the panes. From a distance these windows look like normal divided lite windows, but when you get close, it is obvious the grid is not on the surface. This makes cleaning the window much easier, but also makes it impossible to change the color of the grid. You are stuck with the grid color if you should choose to change your window paint color. 


GBGs (Grids Between the Glass)


Grids between the glass is typical of vinyl double-pane windows. From a distance, they appear to be traditional windows, but upon close inspection, it becomes clear they are not. The grid color cannot be changed because it is installed between the two panes of glass.


If these variations are not enough to thoroughly confuse you, keep in mind the grids are available in different profiles (shapes) and different widths. They are also available in dozens of different patterns. You can also have custom patterns made if you prefer (and want to spend the money.) 

A Few Different Grid Patterns

Many different grid patterns are available. The most common is some variant of the upper left with perhaps more or less rows and columns. Many manufacturers will also make custom patterns if you cannot find one you like. The dividers that are nearer the sides with a larger pane in the center (like the top row, second from the left) are called prairie style.

Fortunately, home owners do not often have to be involved with selecting the types of divided lites or the pattern because the architect will select what he or she thinks is best. That does not mean you cannot select what you want. If you don’t like the style in your design then just ask and you can probably get exactly what you would like to have with little or no change in cost.


If you have any questions or want to discuss window choices, call or text us (843 846 2500) or email us ( No cost or obligation for you, of course.

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