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Heritage home design series: Georgian double hung windows

In my recent post about Georgian architecture I mention that double-hung sash windows were the most popular type of window used in Georgian home architecture, but what exactly is a double-hung sash window?

In Georgian architecture these windows, which slid up and down on a series of weights and pulleys, featured small panes of glass – chosen because they offered fantastic stylistic embellishment.

One look at Georgian home and you’ll notice right away those windows.

Architects used simple mathematical calculations to place them, then those small panes were chosen – usually 12 over 12 or nine over nine.

With a double-hung sash window both the sash and window frame are able to move up and down, plus the sashes tilt to offer easy cleaning. It’s the fact that both the top and bottom sash are operable on a double-hung window that differentiates them from a single-hung window, in which the top sash is fixed in place while the bottom can be opened.

In addition to offering great stylistic appeal, double-hung sash windows were also practical. As mentioned, they tilted inward for easy cleaning, but the fact that both top and bottom sashes could be opened meant that more fresh air and cool breezes could be drawn into the home – a necessity during the hot summer months before air conditioning was invented. It also offered great ventilation in homes built during the Georgian era when families were treated at home for ailments, births and deaths.

Above these windows were generally some sort of ornamentation, either:

  • Decorative pediments, or;
  • Brick headers

That ornamentation was dependent upon the type of material the home was built out of, either wood or brick – something I’ll delve further into in my next post

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