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out of the depths

Part of the long process of settling into any house seems to be the endless shifting of stuff in basements, attics and garages. This sunny weekend I extracted from the basement an enormous pile of old storm windows — full height wooden sashes, mostly two over two, the style of the ‘modern’ replacement windows which were put onto this house — on the street-facing windows only — around the time of the First World War, but which were mostly removed in 1952. No longer needed, these storms have been brought up as giveaways for our architect, Lombard, who keeps quite a cache of old stuff for re-use. Among them were some really old sashes which aren’t storm windows at all, but regular sashes left over from the original fenestration. Mortised & pegged, with wavy glass now coated with years of good basement grime.

Two of them have the same eight by twelve lights found on all the remaining old windows in the house. First is a six-panel sash which matches most of the other surviving old windows in the house:

Next is a three-light version (seen at top) left over from a 3-over-3 window, probably more recently used as fixed sash in a basement window, to judge by the cool red sticker fragment still on it.

The last one is an enigma: a nine-light sash with six-by-eight glass, narrower than all our current windows (22″w by 28″h). Did it come from this house? If we originally had nine-over-nine, or six-over-nine anywhere, I wish I knew where!

It would be nice to keep them around for eventual reuse in the house, but it’s unrealistic to consider replacing all the modern sashes with salvaged old work like this, and these sparse finds won’t get us far! And anyway, I don’t mind having three different periods represented in our windows. The first photo above shows the two-over-two windows in the dining-room nook, with one of the modern six-over-six windows in the front parlor, at left. The nook also has eighteenth-century sashes on the corner out of sight, next to the two-over-twos. That’s the only south-facing window in the house with original sashes. Go figure…

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