A sash window also known as hung sash window is a window containing several panes of glass that are separated from each other by strips of wood; usually molded and are known as muntins in the United States. The panels are opened in a movable style called ‘Yorkshire light’ either in a horizontal or a vertical style. Other people refer to this window as sliding sash or sash and case because of how the weight of the window is concealed in a box case. The term sash is mostly used to refer to this particular window due to the style of opening; usually horizontal or vertical as described above. Robert Hooke is credited as the inventor of sash windows while some people trace its originality from Dutch. The Ham house found in England, is one of the oldest examples still in existence containing the sash windows though most of the houses built with sash windows are found in Georgian and Victorian houses.
The classic arrangement of this window is a six by six panel window that contains two sashes or rather panels have two panes fixed in an upward direction and three fixed across on each sash. The older houses built with sash windows had no fixed standard sizes the window. However, those Victorian and Edwardian houses in England lately built put in to consideration a standard sash window unit which would be four feet in width approximately. Though, a pub in England Bromyard, Herefordshire has fixed an exceptional in size sash window of about two meters far from the standard size of 1.2 meters.
The window frame is made of a cast-iron sash weight or a heavy steel lead that balances the weight of the panel so that the window operates smoothly. Braided cotton cords of sash or a chain connects the sash weight and the window found on the top of the window. Spring balances are sometimes used instead of cotton cords. The cord is fixed in such a way that in any case it is broken, require major damage of the trim pieces so that repair is successfully done.The window can easily be cleaned or it can be used as a good escape point due to the availability of simplex hinges that allow the window to be closed on one side and still detached on the other side.
In the United Kingdom, the window can be termed as a sash window or a box sash window, although the historical difference is that fact that box sash windows are heavier than sash windows being made by current industries. Both terms are currently used to mean the same thing. On the other side, people in the United States refer to this window as hung sash window when referring to a that which is made of two sashes movable in a upwards and downwards direction. The double-hung is found in warm places so as to facilitate cool air in to the building. This double-hung window allows interior cooling during warm weather due to its nature of opening usually opened at the top and bottom. Some of them are made in a way that the upper sash is shorter than the one at the bottom giving them a unique name, cottage window.
The difference between a single-hung and a double-hung is the fact that a single-hung only opens at the bottom while the top side remains closed, although both have two sashes. On the other hand it is seen from the above description that a double-hung sash window can be opened from the top and the bottom as well, giving it an advantage when it comes to the warm climate areas to single-hung sash window. Recently, new England churches have been built with triple; a sash window with three sashes and quadruple; a sash window with four sashes. This is so because of the tall nature and the large size of the buildings where single and double-hung sash windows cannot perform to the best of expectations.
The older sash windows were and still are strong due to quality of wood used to make them. They were made of a single glaze and have lasted for generations of years until today. The current sash windows on the other hand are made of softwood which in comparison is not as strong as the older makes. This means that the older sash windows are the best if in any case durability is to be considered. In addition the glass of the older make is as good as its sash. The glasses were made from cylinder, crown, broad or a plate which are credited for their durability as well. Cylinder is the only glass that is still in existence or rather that is still being manufactured while the rest of the glasses are hard to find or rather are not being manufactured. This calls for proper handling of the older windows due to their durability that is hardly found in the currently used glasses. If you need to recognize a older glass of a sash window, looking through the window from outside is the option. You will notice distortions or rather roughness that is present i the glass. When you come across one, take good care of it, it might save you the cost of replacing broken glasses.
A older double glazed window looks more attractive as compared to the current double glazed sash windows. This is because, traditionally, non-functional muntins were applied on the surface of the glaze which gave it an appearance of many smaller panels in the window while in real sense it is only a one unit with two glazes on it. While the older sash windows are the best, they still have some disadvantages: the problem of swelling, rotting or even distortions of the wood. However, these problems can be handled by carefully repairing the window or draught stripping.
Finally, with an experienced painter, good maintenance and the use of sliding sash windows, then sash windows are the best windows in terms of durability.
Thanks to Pembroke and Nash for kindly letting us use their images for this article.