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Old 08-31-2012, 08:56 PM   #1
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Number buttons on old storms


I'm in the long process of restoring all of the remaining old storm windows on my 1914 Craftsman style house...every window frame so far has had a numerical push pin of sorts embedded into it. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floor windows. No rhyme or reason to the numbering, so far I've found 17, 23, 52, 19, and 37. There are 10 total old storms, originally there were a maximum of 16 (maybe).

They are buried in the paint, some visible through the paint and some appearing after lots of scraping.

I'm just curious if this was maybe some sort of ordering method, or something... Anybody have any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Andy
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:51 PM   #2
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Number buttons on old storms


Cool you have them but it sounds like you only have half.

Usually the buttons were installed sequentially as windows were installed around the house but they could be in any order.

There should be matching number buttons pounded somewhere in the window frames or sills to match those embedded in the storms.

Sometimes teens were for the first floor, 20s for the second, 30s for the third etc.

Unfortunately the buttons got painted over or those who took over the houses did not know to look for them to match window frames to storms. In the process of fitting the wrong pairs things got warped so you cannot truly trust matched up buttons anymore.


Last edited by user1007; 09-01-2012 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:12 PM   #3
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Number buttons on old storms


Appreciate the response.

Yes, it would not surprise me at all if the owners who painted these the last time did something to that effect.

I'll check the frames tomorrow...as of yet I haven't seen any corresponding buttons.

The last 3 owners did some interesting things to the house. I'm slowly working my way through them all.

Thanks again!

Andy
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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Number buttons on old storms


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marqed97 View Post
The last 3 owners did some interesting things to the house. I'm slowly working my way through them all.
I worked almost exclusively on antique homes and most from the 1800s or early 1900s. So your comment does not surprise me! Lots of others that visit this forum have old house experiences too so keep sharing and asking about things.

I hope you are enjoying it though. I think it is worth it in the long run. New construction, for the most part, just does not have the character.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:39 PM   #5
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Number buttons on old storms


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Originally Posted by sdsester
I hope you are enjoying it though. I think it is worth it in the long run. New construction, for the most part, just does not have the character.
Totally agreed. I grew up across town in a house built in 1886 with all original woodwork and plaster, so that's what I'm comfortable with. This house was built in 1914 about a mile away... It was built by the shipyards for management types, then owned by a local attorney for 50 years.

I do wish I had the full abstract for this property, my mom has one for theirs going back to 1865 and is about 3" thick. Original town of Superior layout plans, certificates of sale, receipts from the sheriff since the house was sold at auction on the police department steps 3 times, all sorts of cool stuff.

All I know about my house is the year built and an almost full list of ownership up to now. I've spent a lot of time at the library looking through old Polk City Directories.

I'm sure I'll run into some more interesting stuff this weekend...

Andy
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #6
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Number buttons on old storms


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marqed97 View Post
All I know about my house is the year built and an almost full list of ownership up to now. I've spent a lot of time at the library looking through old Polk City Directories.

I'm sure I'll run into some more interesting stuff this weekend...

Andy
Any help from either a City library archivist or historical society? UofW architecture historian?

I had family that lived in Eau Claire for many years. Lots of old treasures and woodwork since it was plentiful. They live in a patented modern place now in Hudson. Gorgeous and easier on old knees than stairs. I am not much for most new construction but the design of their place is spectacular with lots of things that just make sense. It is extremely well built and finished nicely too. I guess we can do it if you we put our minds to it!

Last edited by user1007; 09-02-2012 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:42 AM   #7
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Number buttons on old storms


I've been kicking around the idea of contacting the Douglas County Historical Society to see if they have any period photos from this neighborhood. They require a donation for archival research and charge by the hour (they stopped letting outside people paw through the stacks a few years ago) but it may be worth a shot. There are 3 houses on my block that are the same design but with small decorative changes (porches, windows, etc). Most of the other houses in the immediate vicinity came 20-30 years later, so I'd think they'd be easy to pick out of a lineup.

My sister in Waupaca has a beautiful house (new construction). From a functional standpoint, I love it. Open concept, high, vaulted ceilings, huge finished basement, beautiful staircases. But it's still missing a certain character to me. I like my creaky floorboards and wavy glass windows. But to each their own. My other sister lives across the bay in Duluth in an 1888 boardinghouse that's been mostly restored and converted to small apartments....that place is GORGEOUS. Still has the original gas light fixtures everywhere.

I live about 4 blocks from the water (I can see about 4 miles out onto Lake Superior from my 3rd floor office). I'm also about 3 blocks from Fairlawn Mansion which is now run by the historical society. I never thought about it but they might have old neighborhood pictures in the museum portion...maybe my girls and I will go take the free walk-thru tour today!

This is Fairlawn:
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:59 AM   #8
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Number buttons on old storms


I'm really not sure how much help I can be here, but I have some input.

I recently salvaged several original/old window sash from a turn-of-the-century house that was being remodeled. They are double-hung sash with the weight and pulley system, not storm windows. Each sash has these number buttons attached to them, and the number from the bottom sash matches the top.

The windows came out of a "sun room" or enclosed front porch type thing, and I have to wonder if they were designed to be removeable in the summer to be replaced with screens. The numbers would indicate to the homeowner the correct order to reinstall the windows in the cold seasons, so that the windows would be reinstalled in the same opening each time. The same numbering concept might apply to your storm windows - as we know, no opening is the same in these old houses so they would have to be reinstalled in the same place each time they were removed.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:24 AM   #9
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Number buttons on old storms


I appreciate the input. Yeah that's kind of what I figured. I found some more in the bottom sill of my basement windows when I built temporary winter storms for them last week...those storms were missing when we bought the place.

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