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Individual panes of glass between muntin bars could be mimicked using simulated divided light (SDL), whereby grid function is applied to either side of a sill. Spacer bars between the two glass layers finish the illusion of individual panes although the window is double-glazed.

“Historic districts are usually concerned about keeping the identical daylight openings, and SDL maintains these openings with the update of glass with the most recent low-E technology,” says Hoffman. SDL also works with tri-pane glassnonetheless, this option is rarely approved in historical districts and an uncommon selection for historical applications.

“Our stripping performs, but is hidden as far as possible.”

Aluminum cladding is used for window exteriors when maintenance is a problem. Marvin uses a commercial-grade aluminum which “simulates painted timber and exhibits much cleaner, crisper edges than vinyl, which can not be machined to high tolerances,” says Hoffman. He references a recent job in St. Paul, Minnesota, with seven stories in a rigorous historic district.

When choosing period-appropriate windows to get a new-old home, improvement, or renovation, no thought is too small. Careful research and planning ensure that the amount of a window parts communicates the craftsmanship of previous eras well into the future.

Today’s modern skylines sprinkled with shimmering towers of glass create windows look like nothing more than visual voids on a fa├žade. However, windows are in fact an essential component in the overall appearance and architectural character of any building, particularly old homes. Consider imagining the long, horizontal louvers of a jalousie window onto a Federal home rather than delicate, multi-paned, double-hung sash. It does not work, does it? The perfect type of window on a historical house can make or break the outside. And beyond appearance, obviously, windows also offer light, fresh air, and a link to the outdoors.

Materials for windows were not always so easily available. Glass at the New World was largely imported from England and quite pricey. Crown glass, among the earliest kinds of glass had existed for centuries, but just started being made in England from the late 17th century and afterwards trickled down to the colonies. It was made by turning a bubble of molten glass before it was flat, a technique that led to a bull’s eye (or “crown”).