The definition of an orangery has been changed gradually. Earlier exotic plants and fruits were grown and cultivated in an orangery. Extravagant buildings with large windows and door sets between brick piers were considered as orangeries. The origin of constructing orangeries was in the 17th century in Holland. This was enthusiastically continued by England. However, the earliest orangeries were of Italian or French.
A record was found that during 1385 flowers had been grown in a glass pavilion facing south in France. Later in 1544, the establishment of the first European Botanical Gardens was done at the University of Pisa. The growth in botanical studies and the age of exploration lead to the encouragement of the beginning of orangeries and protected gardening.
During the 17th century, the design of orangeries was in such a way that they were built with glass windows facing south. Glass windows were used to let maximum amount of sunlight. Insulation systems were necessary to ensure the survival of sensitive plants. In order to insulate the roof straw was used. Also coal braziers were used to warm the orangery during winter. Leaded windows of smaller panes were used during this period.
During the 18th century, the orangeries were built with larger glass panes. These were greater than those used in 17th century. A glazing putty was first used during this period. Chalk and linseed oil were used for them. This enhanced the panes to be more waterproof and highly insulated. During the 19th Century sophisticated floor-heating systems have been used in orangeries. These were constructed in such a way that they are separated from the main house. They were located in large gardens which have uninterrupted south-facing aspect.
Orangeries today are referred to buildings with glazed slides, built on a brick or wood support. A partially glazed roof is provided. They have been in connection with the main house and used as a room instead of just cultivating plants. As less glass is used in the construction, they differ from conservatories. Modern orangeries include new wave of technology using double glazing, solar glass, self-cleaning glass and under floor electric heating. A stylish good look is given to orangeries these days.