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Victorian Windows Missing Pulleys & Weights

I would like to fix the pulley sytems in my Victorian double-hung windows, without removing the windows. I found a DIY how-to, but it assumes that the original pulley system is still in place and just has a snapped cord somewhere. My problem is that all the cords and weights were removed at some point in the past (and every single window painted shut), so I have these beautiful old windows that no longer open and close. Chipping the paint off I can do. But where can I find the materials I need to repair the pulley system? I guess I just need a certain size of cloth cord, and some old window weights. Do I have to track this stuff down at an antique store, which will be difficult in my small town, or does someone still make weights for old windows?

Here's the DIY article I found, showing the kind of window I have and how to make minor repairs to it. Mine don't have access panels, though:

WIndow Sash Cord Repair

Also, before anyone tells me to replace the windows with new ones... The windows are in very good condition otherwise. And I live in a climate so mild that we left our bedroom window open all winter long for the cat to come and go. And the summers are even milder, never getting past the 60s except rare instances where it creeps into the low 70s. You have to go further inland for actual seasons! ;)

Re: Victorian Windows Missing Pulleys & Weights

It may be that installing a different system of balance will be easier than trying to source pulleys and weights. I have retrofit these kind of spring/tape balances in old houses with some success. They don't seem to have the longevity of the simpler rope/pulley/counterweight, but they do allow one side benefit: you can add insulation to the former weight box and probably gain some heating/cooling efficiency.
There are two manufacturers:
http://www.caldwellmfgco.com/ These folks also make the spiral/spring balances but they require routing out a large slot in the edge of each sash.
If you were able to come across some pulleys that fit, you would still have to get a counterweight of the appropriate mass. I recall seeing an advertisement a while back for a modular cast weight system where small weights connected together and the proper mass could be obtained by combining segments. There's also the idea of filling a section of 1.5" galvanized pipe with lead shot or sinkers to the desired weight (the bottom having been capped and the top drilled for the rope/chain), so there's more than one way to skin the cat. Pulleys are either sent to the landfill or sold for scrap, unless you have a local scrapper or architectural salvage outfit they can be very hard to find.

Re: Victorian Windows Missing Pulleys & Weights

The first thing to do is free up the windows so you can open them to get to the access panel in the slide area and check to see if the weights were just cut loose and dropped in the wall. This is quite common. Sash cord can be purchased at just about any hardware store.

Re: Victorian Windows Missing Pulleys & Weights

Thanks to both of you! I'll have to open up the casings and see what I find.

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