Viewing History — Old State House Window Restoration

The slideshow below documents the 2010 restoration of historic window sash for the 1713 Old State House in Boston MA. This historic building was the seat of colonial government in the Massachusetts Colony, site of the infamous Boston Massacre and where the Declaration of Independence was read to the citizens of Boston.

It’s easy to take windows for granted — we see them every day — they are all around us. But with the constant bombardment of advertising for ‘new’ vinyl windows, the latest insulated glass etc and an over-hyped fear of lead paint and asbestos many of our nation’s historic windows are being discarded without a second thought. We’re robbing future generations of the same views we had — seeing sites through the same wavy old glass our forefathers looked through. The way light shines through a true divided light window and the ease of use and maintenance some old windows can offer.

Ease of use and maintenance?! What old windows are you talking about?

Believe it or not properly built old single and double hung windows can be quite weather tight and easy to use when properly installed and maintained. These old windows were designed so that you could take them apart — held together with joinery and pins — and replace or repair broken glass or rotted wood. This is a lot more ‘green’ that today’s ‘modern’ modern vinyl windows. If something breaks on a vinyl window often the only repair solution is to swap it out for a new unit — think of all that waste.  And lead and asbestos can all be safely removed or mitigated by preservation specialty contractors under the guidance of EPA regulations.

Below is a brief slideshow roughly documenting how a quality sash restoration can be carried out. I really enjoyed working on this project and I hope that you will consider saving/restoring your own historic windows.

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