The methods for bringing turn of the century window hardware back to life aren’t immediately obvious. There are many styles of hardware, and many techniques to employ. Not every technique works for every piece of hardware. Some techniques are somewhat universal. Exposure to the different types of hardware and learning various techniques takes time.
Most turn of the century window hardware is a higher quality than what is readily available now. For most people therefore, when bringing turn of the century windows back to life, replacing the hardware isn’t a good option, as what’s easily obtainable is merely a mimicry of what it could be. Good replacement hardware does exist but it’s not immediately obvious how to get it. The online sources are so varied and unpredictable. Buyer beware. The hardware often looks the part, but doesn’t adequately do the same job it’s predecessors did, being almost entirely decorative rather than functional. Therefore keeping the original is often the best and most practical path.
The original hardware though, is most often covered over with multiple layers of paint. The question people struggle with is how to remove the old paint while simultaneously uncovering and retaining as much of the original finish as possible. There’s something beautiful underneath all the old paint, and the goal is to find and accentuate it.