When looking around online for information about refurbishing our metal casement windows and restoring functionality to our old 1920's era Rolscreen's®, I came across a message board with the following information.
The Rolscreen® has been around since the early 1900's. In 1925 Pete and Lucille Kuyper invested some money in a small Des Moines, Iowa company named Rolscreen®. In 1926 they moved the company back home to Pella Iowa. They introduced a Venetian blind a few years later and their first window in 1937. They kept the window and door products seperate from Rolscreen® and started the building of their empire. Not only did they have the Rolscreen® but they also introduced the pivoting double hung window to the world for inside cleaning, as well as the first aluminum clad window. It wasn't until around 1992 that they turned Rolscreen® into The Pella Corporation. This tied all their products together in one big knot.
The early Rolscreen® is just like a roll-up shade. It has an access cover and comes out to be serviced. Early (1925-1940) Pella Rolscreen® repair is next to impossible. Metal casement windows have the screen rollup cartridge secured by the wooden side casing pieces. The screen tracks are also attached to these wood casing pieces.
To remove the cartridge for screen replacement, I screwed in eye bolts to pry it out with. If you can find the finish nails, pound them on through with a nail set. The wood casing pieces with the tracks attached and the cartridge will be able to be pried down. Once the cartridge is out you have a very strong and welded together metal box (about 2"1/2 x 2"1/2 x width of the window). Steel dowels through the center spring loaded roll axel can be undone in preparation for chiseling select spot welds. Once the axel and steel cylinder are removed you can start the process of removing the old screen. The copper screen will be secured to the cylinder with large lead soldered areas. I used a leaded window soldering pencil (140w) to do this. A soldering gun or pencil used for electronics will not work.
Next, reassembly with new copper screen can begin. Use new copper screen with at least one factory edge for one side. When soldering the new screen make sure you are straight. The other cut edge can be doubled over, and then large staples will be applied down the length of that side of the screen to keep the screen in the track. Don't overlap more than 1/4". The winding of the spring and reloading the cartridge is straightforward. The cartridge case can be pop riveted back together. The bottom rail that attaches to the screen that you pull down on is impossible to dismantle. I sandwiched the new screen between the pull-down rail and some 1/8 bar stock pop riveted together.
To understand the operation and assembly of my old Rolscreens, I reached out to Pella customer support for more information. They shared everything they could find in their archives. For more information on what they shared with me, please click below.