Double-hung windows draw architect’s ire

5 traits that marred this invention

If you set out to create the worst window you could, you might go about it like this: First, you'd design it to oppose the pull of gravity, and therefore require a Rube Goldberg contraption of weights and ropes, cables or springs just to keep it from falling shut. You'd also make sure you could never open more than half of it at a time. Of course you'd arrange the sash so that your view would be blocked by a big dividing bar. Naturally, you'd also make it hard to maintain and a headache to paint. Lastly, you'd conceal the operating mechanism to make it fiendishly difficult to repair. If you managed to fulfill every one of these none-too-admirable goals, the result of your design would probably be a double-hung window. So much for my hypothetical bad-design contest. In reality, the origin of the double-hung window is British. Its invention is often attributed to Robert Hooke (1635-1703), surveyor to the city of London and chief assistant to the renowned architect Sir Ch...