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Windows without nails!

The word 'sash' is derived from the French word 'chassis', meaning frame. However there is little evidence of it being a French innovation.

Why the French term became commonplace is unknown but it is one of many English words in common use that have been derived from the French. Nowadays the trend is in the opposite direction, much to their annoyance.

The main innovation in the sash window was the use of a counter balancing weight. Sash windows without counter balancing were produced way before the 17th Century. They were originally designed to operate horizontally and then later in the vertical, as now, but they would have been heavy to open and were held in place with wedges and stoppers.

The counter balancing idea has not been historically traced but they were well in evidence towards the end of the 17th Century in great houses like Chatsworth and Kensington Palace.

Sir Christopher Wren was an ardent fan of the sash window, he was doubtless impressed by its simple but effective principle and they soon became a distinctive feature of Georgian and later Victorian buildings, great and small.

Traditionally made from hard woods such as oak, the design enabled the user to open the window as much or as little as they wished, and in a country prone to wind they had the added advantage of not jutting out like sails catching the wind when opened.

Sadly as the cost of labour rose, quick to fit, mass produced windows came to the fore, but the skills of the sash window maker are still in demand and there will always be a craftsman somewhere who gets a special thrill from making one of the few remaining mechanical devices made from wood.


The Barn, Upper Slackstead Farm, Farley Lane, Braishfield,
Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 OQL.

Telephone  01794 367871
   Email   info@slidingsash.co.uk


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