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Cape Cod Bring Oiled Paper For Your Windows

If you take a piece of plain paper, oil it lightly, and then hold it to the light, you will see that it lets in light but you will not see through it. The windows of the first Cape Cod houses had oiled paper to let light into the houses. A Colonist wrote back to a friend in Old England who was shortly to come to this land, “Bring oiled paper for your windows.”

But as early as 1629, glass was used for the windows of at least some houses. The glass was set into the windows with nails. The sashes were often narrow and oblong, and their panes were diamond-shaped and set in lead. The sashes opened up and down on their middle, on hinges.

But long after the larger towns had glass windows, many frontier houses still had heavy wooden shutters. These were not only cheaper than glass windows; they furnished more protection against Indian attacks.

Perhaps these shutters were suggested by the use of shutters in their overseas homes and shops, where nightly protection was gained by “putting up the shutters” at night and removing them the next morning. It is unlikely that the Colonists’ shutters were hinged.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/27/06
Categories: HistoryHouses
Keywords: cape cod house, architecture, history


Interesting background on shutters and the reason they were put up…nowadays they still provide protection—in a slightly different way as I doubt you will be attacked by Indians!

Posted by tristan on 05/26/10 at 04:53 PM | #

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