By Jaimie Julia Winters

The first of the historic Austral windows at the Bellevue Avenue Library has been restored and rehung.

The patented Austral window are self-balancing windows that eliminated sash weights, cords and pulleys. The upper and lower sashes move simultaneously in opposite directions, allowing fresh air to enter indirectly and venting stale air out the top of the window. When fully opened, they provided 70 percent ventilation as compared to 50 percent ventilation for double-hung windows.

Bellevue window
The austral window design at the Bellevue Library.
Courtesy of the Montclair Library

These window designs were popular in schools, libraries and other public buildings at the previous turn of the century.

Most were made of metal, not wood said Mary Delaney Krugman, JD, MSHP, historic consultant on the project.

“They are Austral windows with wood sashes, which are unusual in that they have survived. Wood was not typical for the type - they more often were metal,” said Krugman.

The windows were taken to Dell-Tech’s workshop in Trenton for restoration.

Cordelia Siporin President of the Friends of the Bellevue Avenue Library, said the restoration is part of the ongoing process of restoring the building’s 103-plus-year-old windows in accordance with the strict guidelines of the state and federal registers of historic places.

“This process has been going on for months, with no word on when it will be completed, so the very first replacement of one of the historic building’s windows is big library news,” said Siporin.

The library chose to restore the windows rather than replace them. Dell-Tech is repairing the window’s operating mechanisms and the wood frames, while adding compatible new protective finishes.

The Andrew Carnegie Foundation awarded Montclair $20,000 for the Upper Montclair Branch, which was added to a $40,000 grant to construct the Main Branch.

The architect of record is Nelson and Van Wagenen, Architects, NYC. Design was by Francis A. Nelson. In December 1914, the Bellevue Branch opened.