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I'm looking to recreate the original mechanism for opening and closing the ceiling "window-frame" vent in the topfloor bathroom of my 1938 Wash DC rowhouse.

enter image description here Problem is, I have no friggin' idea what that mechanism was...any ideas?

From what info I have gathered, originally there was a chain/rope that connected to corners on either side. Was it more complicated than that or is literally just a chain or rope with enough slack to be reachable?

I'm also curious about how to go about cleaning this up while not further damaging an already apparently fragile "window" frame.

Also I can't figure out how to remove it from it's position without permanently damaging whatever the things are that the "window" rotates on (one is visible in the pic--I tried to pull it out but was unsuccessful even with reasonable force, and there isn't an exposed one on the other side). So I'm doing all the cleaning and painting with it in place.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

More pics:

Looking up

Closer look at condition of frame

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  • In the last photo there appears to be a pin near the muntin in the stile or rail. Perhaps with the window closed you pull that to release it from its pivot, swing that side down into the room and you can pull the other end out of its pivot point. – Alaska Man Apr 26 '20 at 2:05
  • Hi, thanks for pointing that out. I did try to pull it but it won't budge! On the other side I suspect a similar pin is in place but nothing is exposed like this one. I'll update the post so that's clearer. – land_baron Apr 26 '20 at 2:28
  • Old window, pin could be stuck form lack of use. I think it is just one pull pin the other pivot is just a hidden pivot. Support the weight of window when trying to pull the pin in order to take the weight of off the pin. There only needs to be one pull pin to get the window out. Try pulling with pliers or a squirt of penetrate in it to see if it will get thing loose. – Alaska Man Apr 26 '20 at 2:35
  • I've got a bottle of penetrate arriving for another project (stem seal in the diverter for the shower is stuck AND stripped so I am trying the flat-blade method), I'll try that out tomorrow. Do you think the pivot pin is set in the frame or the exterior? – land_baron Apr 26 '20 at 2:38
  • I think the pin is spring loaded, it goes through the rail and into a hole in the side wall of the opening. Try it while supporting the window to take the weight off the pin. – Alaska Man Apr 26 '20 at 2:40

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