Original Casement Hardware Cover-up

by Josh on September 17, 2008 · 3 comments

in Journal

Of the eight intact casement windows in the house only one has its original hardware intact.  That window is in the kitchen, in what used to be the breakfast nook.  My last post described my successful search for vintage replacement hardware for four of the other casement windows.  But before I hit the salvage shops , I took a close look at the latch on the kitchen window.

By comparing the measurements on the other windows to the kitchen window latch, I knew that the kitchen latch was different than the ones in the living room and front entry.  Nevertheless, I thought it would be a good idea to remove the latch to be able to physically compare it on the other windows.  When I pulled the screws, here is what I found:

unfinished stripping

Paint!  What a cover-up!

Now I know that the woodwork was painted at one point and much of it was later restored.  But why on earth would someone go to the trouble of stripping a painted window yet never bother to remove the latch to clean under it?  It seems like it would be harder to strip paint with the latch on than with it off.

It doesn’t really matter that the paint is there.  I put the latch back and the paint is covered again.  Still, this is one of the more curious cut-corners I’ve run across here.

On the other hand, I suppose it’s possible that this was done on purpose as a preservation record.  If the window was always painted– definitely a possibility in a kitchen– keeping a record of the original paint hidden under the latch would preserve that information.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy September 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I would think that they did it on purpose. It makes sense.


sarah September 20, 2008 at 8:34 am

I have to admit, I leave ‘clues’ like this when I strip paint. Always on the top of a window or door header, though – I don’t strip the paint there. They never should have been painted anyways, but without fail there are drops, slops, and globs up there that preserve all the colors that were once on the trim. In our case, though, our trim was definitely not originally painted – at least downstairs. The latch seems a silly place to leave it – I agree!


pat September 21, 2008 at 10:33 am

I have seen this in older homes before. It looks like the wood was not stripped of the white paint, but that it was stained/shellacked over the paint and hardware…..the easy way out. Thus, they would not remove the hardware as expected with stripping.

I’ve been lurking and enjoying reading of your challenges and solutions to problems.


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