Interesting Keith. So you don't think these are the original with the house? I was always under the impression these were from 1937 when the house was built. I had no idea these kinds of windows were build in the 70's.
I attached another picture of the stained glass in the front https://housetudor.shutterfly.com/pictures/20
This one is really leaky in all the grids. I figured this must be original to the house, but may be not.
One concern is that I can weather strip and seal but it doesn't solve the issue of the air seeping through the grids which is what I think you meant by saying "extruded H channel". It must be a bunch of square pieces held together by the steel. Air leaks through that. You can see the bubbling in one of the new pictures I added. https://housetudor.shutterfly.com/pictures/21.
On the interior storms, one very tricky issue is that the the wall part of the window area curves a bit and also the crank assembly sticks out quite a bit. So it doesn't give me much space to put the window assuming I put the storm window in front of the crank assembly. Also the curvature of the wall may be a problem for attaching the window. Have you ever seen this? I'm afraid it won't stick. But I'm going to give it a try since it's a cheap experiment.
If I did embark on a slow replacement window process (few at a time to make it affordable), if the installer is good and I pick appropriate windows to match the house, do you think it's feasible or risky to try?
Many thanks for your replies. So helpful, I can't even begin to tell you!
Everything is a risk, there are unscrupulous contractors out there, you just have to do your homework. Check out the BBB website and ask for references. Be very cautious of startups, they can be cheap, but they are the highest risk catagory when it comes to dissatisfaction.
But a good contractor can do replacement windows, or really repair those windows correctly.
As for the windows being original, they could be but not likely. The curved walls around the windows suggest an art deco influence and steel windows would be appropriate to art deco, but mixing art deco and tudor styling would be hard to pull off. I guess a really talented decorator could mix the styles. I would have guessed that the curved walls and steel windows came in a later remodel, but 1937 would be near the end of the art deco era so it doesn't make sense that someone would do that at a later date.
Are there any similar houses in the neighbor hood? Are there other houses with steel windows? This might help give a clue as to whether they were original or not. If there are other houses with similar windows and treatments, then the windows might be original.
Can you give a little more info on the grid. Is it square steel or H channel. H channel gets its name because if you cut a cross section or look at the ends of a piece, it resembles an H. The glass sits in the top and bottom grooves of the H. The square steel may not be an actual square but more like a T laying on its side with the vertical section of the T being a square. If you have this, you are lucky because that is easier to seal. This was the type I had in Virginia. The glass was sealed with putty just like an old wood window.
Restoring the leaded glass windows would be worth it. There are artisans around that can do that. They could be fitted with interior storms.
Replacing as funds permit seems like a good way to replace the windows if you have somebody that will do it. I would still try to replace as soon as possible.
Also what's the consensus on replacement vs new construction windows for a house with very old steel windows? I would think replacement might result in issues with the window not properly sealing. But new would be hard to install and potentially damaging to the house.
Replacement windows will be fine as long as they are made to fit the opening. Most of the time, that means the opening has to be measured up and custom windows made. Things go bad when a fly by night contractor measures the opening, orders the next smaller stock size window from a warehouse and then uses a lot of filler around the window. That always looks like junk and often leaks worse than the old windows.
The quality manufacturers like Marvin make windows to custom sizes, or to order as they say. But there are warehouses full of windows made by a low cost manufacturers that have gone out of business. Many contractors rely on them for new construction. They get cheap windows and frame the openings for the size they get.
My daughter bought a new house a couple years ago. When a window got broken last year, she found out that there was no replacement glass available because it was one of those situations above. She had to have a custom glass cut to fit the original frame and they could not match the grid perfectly. Its close but the window is in the back and you'd have to look for it to see the difference. The replacement glass was $500 for one (double) pane of glass.
Edit: I don't understand what you mean by replacement. My thinking is that replacement windows are new windows but you are treating them as different. I only see two choices, new replacement windows, preferably custom made to fit the existing openings, or repair of the old windows.
Yes I have. We lived in an apartment in LA and recently moved into Canada, my grandma's place. The house is almost 80 years old and half the windows and door were eaten by termites. We got all our door and windows replaced with the help of Landmark home solutions.