Photo Gallery of Old House Window Designs
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Choose from a full range of options in window designs for older homes, including divided lite patterns, to replicate your existing window designs. Old house windows consisted, in general, of three parts, the frame, the sash and the inside finish, and each part was usually described separately in the specifications. The material for all those parts of the frame which were exposed to the weather would be white pine, douglas fir, cedar, larch, sugar pine, cypress or redwood. White pine was always generally preferred in windows for old houses when it could be obtained at the desired price.
The old house window piece called the "pulley-stile" was frequently made of hard pine, and sometimes of one of the broad-leaved hardwoods, because such woods wore better under the friction of the sash in sliding up and down. Whether of hard or soft wood, the pulley-stile would never be painted, but simply oiled or stained. The concealed portions of the frame were usually made of spruce, the cheaper grades of white or yellow pine, or the most common wood of the locality. All of the material would be well-seasoned, and in order to keep out the dampness, frames that were to be placed in masonry walls would be painted or oiled all over before they were set. This window design was very common in old houses.
The construction of a casement-window frame in old house window designs was very much like that of a door-frame, the difference being in the arrangement of the wood sill and in the rebate for the sashes. If it was desired to swing the sashes back against the walls, the edge of the frame was kept out nearly flush with the face of the wall. The strip of board shown on the back of the frame was nailed to it for the purpose of holding it more securely in place, and it was put on in short. It was very difficult, and in fact almost impossible, to construct a casement window so that the rain could not beat in, unless the sashes were hung to swing out; and if the sashes opened outward it was impracticable to use outside fly-screens.
Double-hung windows were also often made with the division between the sashes at some point above the middle, so as to bring the meeting-rail above the height of the eye of a person looking out from the inside; and when this was done it was necessary to make a "pocket" above the head of the frame for the lower sash to slide into, if it was to slide its full height. Double-hung window designs were also frequently used in pairs and sometimes three or four windows were included in the same frame. An old house window was called a "mullion-window" or a "double window," the vertical division between the windows being called a "mullion." This window had also a "transom bar," which was the horizontal division between the double hung sash and the small sashes, or "transom-lights," above. Transoms were frequently used in window designs where there were no mullions, and vice versa.
Stone mullions and transom-bars were also frequently used to divide old house windows. Next to the double-hung window designs, in regard to general use, comes the "casement-window" or "French window". This window design had the sashes divided vertically, each being hinged at the sides like a pair of doors. Transoms were frequently, although not necessarily, used with this style of window. The casement-window was the common type of window design in Europe, but it had serious objections which made it undesirable for general use. The most important of these objections were that if the sashes swing in, it was difficult to make them storm-proof, and also that they interfered with the shades and draperies; and, on the other hand, if they swung out, fly-screens could not be used on the windows. Besides these two types of windows there were others in which the sashes were pivoted, either at the center of the sides, or at the top and bottom. Old house windows of this shape were frequently seen in large buildings. The sashes in these window designs, if they opened at all, were usually pivoted at the top and bottom.