The Victorians perfected the art of sash windows. Sash windows have been around a lot longer than the Victorian times but they really made sash windows (in London in particular) and the UK stand out. The sash windows that they created were elegant, slender, and extremely sophisticated by design, this in itself is an art form. They really upped the standards and in this article we are going to go through all of the different things that the Victorians did to make sash windows really stand out in a period property. We’re going to start with the hardware that they installed on sash windows. Then we’re going to go all the way through to the weighting counterbalance mechanism that they used and how they would carry out repairs and servicing of their sash windows. They really made sash windows into an art form that’s been forgotten.
Sash window furniture in Victorian times
The Victorians were amazing, when it came to the sash windows they really made the hardware an art form. They invented the style of lock called the Beehive catch/fastener. This beehive catch has an arm that swings across and secures the sashes. They actually did quite a good job of dragging the meeting rails together because the beehive keep had a slight curve which effectively dragged the sash rails together. This reduced any gaps in between and helped to cut the sash window draughts out as well as make them more secure.
They also invented beautiful finger plates for lifting the lower sash. These finger plates were rebated into the lower sash and known as recessed sash lifts. Here’s a picture of those beautiful sash lifts, and they’re not really installed that often today because tradesman nearly need one hour to actually make this install. That makes the install extremely expensive and extremely rare.
How sash windows were serviced and repaired by the Victorians.
Sash windows are built in such a way that servicing is extremely easy. They can be removed by almost any housekeep, that is if you spend a little while looking at the actual mechanism and perhaps reading an article or two on repair and servicing. They were designed this way so that you could do all of the work yourself, without paying a tradesman which is costly. This made a sash window extremely practical in the Victorian era. If you consider the London has for example literally millions of sash windows, then you’ll understand the need for a homeowner to be able to service their windows 130 years ago, they simply couldn’t afford to go out and get a tradesman to do this simple task. It’s the kind of job that your handyman would be able to accomplish quite comfortably.
Sash windows are simply taken apart, and then new sash cords attached to the weights. Once this was done they would give them such as a lick of paint, with lead paint might I add..which is protected the sash extremely well and this lead paint still exists today which is obviously poisonous and we need to be careful with it, but I highly would recommend just leaving it there because it’s doing a brilliant job of protecting your sash windows.
With the new weight attached, you only need to put the window back on its sash cords. If you need an article that will give you the info in depth for replacing sash cords then I would take a look on the internet there’s loads of brilliant sash window companies that can do that for you.
Sash window glazing bars made an art form by the Victorians.
Sash windows were really stepped up in the 1900’s and just slightly before, they started introducing extremely intricate Georgian glazing bars that looked amazing. There was actually need for these glazing bars because large sheets of glass are extremely expensive, and where glass was produced extremely thin, such as 2.5 to 3 mm thick, large sheets were not secure enough. By having loads of glazing bars break up these large panes of glass, you would create a situation where the sashe’s themselves were structurally strong even with relatively slender glass. The amazing thing about this glass back then was its handmade, so there’s lots of imperfections in it. You can tell the difference now where we machine make our glass and it’s bedded down on molten zinc, it’s just simply perfect which is nice but the old Victorian glass that was handmade just felt like such an art form compared to what we doing these days.
To conclude sash windows in the Victorian times as an art form you can see that they really did make some changes to the sash windows that were extremely effective and they did a great job of really making this the features of a sash window stand out. They did this through beautiful use of glazing bars and slender profiles of sash. It allowed amazing light spaces in properties, especially around Central London where you can see some of the most unbelievable examples of sash windows. These windows simply couldn’t be made today in the same way because of the sheer cost, homeowners just simply can’t afford them in general and this is why we must work hard to protect our Victorian sash windows that were an absolute art form.