Clearview National September 2017 - Issue 190 - Page 93

TIMBER We see our role as supporting our sector of the industry with the highest quality products that enable the joinery manufacturer to justify their prices and margins. And now we want to highlight the skills with which timber products and fittings are brought into our world. We intend to create an award for joiners that recognises ‘Joinery as an Artform’; to support this cause, I welcome submissions of joinery projects that readers might be especially proud of and which we may use in bringing this project to life - with the clear goal of seeking out and promoting excellence amongst this most skilled group of people. MIGHTON PRODUCTS: DRIVEN BY PASSION Mighton Products manufactures and distributes products specially designed for timber sash and casement windows, often known as box frame windows in England and Wales or sash and case windows in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Mighton is the UK’s oldest established sash window hardware specialist. Established in 1983 as a supplier of nylon sash pulleys to the joinery window industry, today Mighton Products offers a comprehensive range of more than 2000 high quality sash, casement and door products. Mighton is founded on Mike Derham’s passion for timber box sash windows and all things produced in wood; in fact his drive for high quality in the products for which he supplies hardware and components is obsessive and includes a keen interest in the history of the box sash window. A large proportion of the company’s sales are derived from the USA supplying many of the country’s large window and door manufacturers, some of which have turnovers in billions of dollars. One of Mighton’s key products distributed there is the Angel Ventlock™, a device that is designed to prevent children falling through open windows. To produce this product the company worked with the American Standard Test Method (ASTM) Sub-Committee to develop new standards of safety, work that ultimately resulted in the introduction of child window fall prevention standards ASTM F2090- 2008 and 2010. Mike remains passionate about child fall prevention and is critical of how slowly the wheels of bureaucracy turn in the UK compared to the US, where officials are more pragmatic in the way they face and implement effective legislation to deal with such issues. Thus, insists Mike, saving young lives along the way. Mike is also committed to the promotion of and support for craftsmen-produced high quality timber sliding sash or box sash windows, produced today pretty much as they originated in the 17th century, with roots back to Sir Christopher Wren. In around 1669 London- based master joiner Thomas Kinward was working in the Royal apartments at Whitehall Palace when his employer, no less than Sir Christopher Wren, asked him to put ‘a line and pulley to the window in ye Queen’s Stoole room’. It was the earliest recorded specification of a fully developed sash window. Whether Kinward thought up the characteristic counter-balancing feature or whether it was Wren himself is undecided but by the time Anne was crowned in 1702, the traditional but inconvenient English casement window with leaded lights had all but been abandoned in favour of the sash that became the hallmark of Georgian architecture. Mike and his colleagues see windows as intrinsic to the personality of a building, as important to the workman’s terrace or the shopkeeper’s villa as to the cleric’s manse and the gentry’s hall. Mike believes, however, that the doors and windows that created this most distinctive characteristic of so many British buildings are threatened - believing, together with many conservationists, that the legacy developed by the proportions, detailing, and materials of windows and doors is being lost by the insensitive replacement with modern designs. He does believes though that many home improvement specialists are attracted by the margins possible through installing high quality timber sash frames as well as the marketing lead that entering this sector provides into upmarket homeowners that are dedicated to the authentic preservation of their period homes. “I believe that the message is getting out there,” says Mike. “Sales of timber sash windows are growing and some of this is down to home improvement firms in addition to greater demand through specialist joiners and carpenters.” C L E A RV I E W-U K . C O M » S EP 2017 » 93