Historically Correct Exterior Shutters

Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa features an 1875 working farmhouse with functional wood exterior shutters. Living History Farms has taken this actual farmhouse plus a drugstore, law office, millinery, bank, general store, newspaper, and several other buildings and recreated a small town. Each of the historical buildings is decorated and operated as they were in 1875.

historical exterior shuttersThe historically accurate exterior shutters of the farmhouse are hinged as they would have been in the post-Civil war era. The shutters are initially visually striking. The house is painted a butter yellow highlighted with brick-red shutters. The shutters use small 7/8" fixed louvers separated by a horizontal divider rail.

The historically correct exterior shutters are installed with Lull & Porter Acme cast iron mortised hinges. The hinges have clever locking pintle design. The outside shutter locks into place when either open or closed. These particular shutters do not utilize a shutter dog to keep the shutters in an open position. The hinges are mortised into both the farmhouse shutters and the window casement. A hook on the inside bottom of the shutter latches over a catch installed on the window sill to keep the shutters in a closed position. The inside side stiles were rabbeted to prevent light gaps between the panels.

historically correct shuttersThe double-hung windows have no screens, so a person would be able to lean through an open window to swing the shutters closed. The louvers are angled so they prevent water and direct sunlight to enter when positioned over the window.

This was an interesting study on how important historical exterior shutters were to the day-to-day life of a 1875 homeowner.

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