Have you heard the saying “windows are the eyes of your home”? Interesting thought, right? Occupants look out into their world and let the light of day shine through them. In the past, windows were not used the same way we use them today, functionally speaking. The purpose of a double hung window was for ventilation. The top sash would be lowered to allow the hot air to leave the house, while the bottom sash was raised to allow the cool air in. With modern heating and air conditioning, the purpose of a window has changed. The purpose of bringing in light is the motive for much modern construction. Huge windows, many that don’t even open, are the trend of today’s construction (example of such a window pictured here). The function of the window is to bring in light, not for temperature control that is managed with heating and air conditioning systems.
It’s interesting to consider what was going on in this house when it was built. When we look back at the picture of our house “back in the day” we would love to hear stories of the daily activities: “did you keep the windows open all summer long?”, “did any of your pulley strings break?”…What question would you want to ask?
Notice that in the picture there were drapes on every window. When we cleared the property we took many loads to the dump. We are guessing that the post-war mentality had some people keeping everything. Part of those dump loads consisted of several sets of big drapes, likely the ones that can be seen in this old photo. In our current time, drapes are used more as a decoration for style and color, with mini-blinds and window shades being the more commonly used privacy covering. Even the trend of having valances is seldom used as homes are more open and “sleek”. Our plan is to have shades only in the bathrooms and keep everything else open and bright.
As we prepare for insulation, all the weights you see here have been removed from the windows.
Although the windows had been replaced many years back, the weights; no longer functional, were kept in place. Not being familiar with this sort of window, I felt inclined to research. I learned that after the Civil War, weight-and-pulley counter balances made it possible to operate a sash window with the lift of a hand. The double hung, weight-and-pulley window is a very simple thing; two cast iron weights total the exact weight of the window. It was after World War II that the double hung weight-and-pulley window became a thing of the past. The simple old system of counter-weighting with cast iron weights was replaced with spring suspension systems. Likely the reason they were no longer used is that they were not without issues. If the rope broke (and they did) the force of the window falling down could be dangerous, as well as breaking the glass.
Did you wonder about the title of this post? Its just a silly joke:
I wrote a story about a broken window. It’s saved in my drafts.