Historic Double Hung Windows

by staff on July 6, 2012

Double Hung WindowUntil I read THIS ARTICLE,  I’d hadn’t really formulated an opinion about the worst window designs.

Of course we see all types of architectural windows as part of our jobs.  And because our firm has a focus on historic homes in central Virginia, we see more than our share of double hung windows.  You know them … the ones with the cords and pulleys buried in the side frames, the big heavy windows that are either painted shut, or else the top frame crashes to the bottom when unlatched.  The glass in them is typically very heavy old glass, adding to the overall weight of the window. 

The design itself is part of the charm of older homes, engineering from days gone by.   They’ve been around since at least the 1600′s, designed in England by a man named Robert Hooke.  These windows were the grandparents of today’s double hung windows, still manufactured by firms like Andersen Windows for use in new construction.  Many of the new options are clad in a protective layer of vinyl or some other material that prevents weathering.   You can order them with Low-E reflective glass to block the sun’s glare and you can even get a tilt-sash version that opens outward for easy cleaning.  New windows can be custom-sized for the dramatically large windows that are part of new architectural plans.

But not so for the older homes with double hung windows.  No.  Only half of the window is operable, generally under the layers of paint that show the tastes of generations of owners.  And I have to agree with the author of THE LINK… these windows seem clumsy and really don’t compare well to today’s versions.

But the charm of the historic windows.  Ah yes.  The charm.

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