The tendency now is towards small keys that project as little as possible from the door surface.
Hinges should be of ample depth and not too light in construction. They have to carry the whole weight of the door, and if not strong enough for the purpose the door will sag and the latch fall out of line with its socket.
Front door latches are now usually of the Yale type, the advantages of which are excellence of workmanship, safety (a Yale lock is practicably unpickable, and no two are alike, consequently each lock can only be opened with the key supplied with it), and lastly, the smallness of the key, which is thin and flat, and may be carried in a purse, a convenience appreciated by lady members of the household.
Bolts are usually strong enough, but in cheap houses the sockets are of the flimsiest construction, thereby discounting the security one would infer from the stoutness of the bolt.
Window fastenings vary in kind according to the type of window.
The sash window is secured by a spring catch of a pattern familiar enough to everybody, including the persevering burglar, who finds it easy to push it back from outside with the blade of a knife.
Catches of this pattern must be at least a century old, and as they have not been improved, except in one detail shortly to be noticed, presumably they represent the best form of fastening available for their particular purpose.
The improvement consists in so shaping the base of the catch that it becomes impossible to open the catch from outside.
Casement windows are secured by a lever bolt, which cannot be tampered with from outside so long as the glass remains intact.
Stays are provided to keep the casement fixed when opened the desired amount.
These stays are not infrequently too light for their purpose, and being weakened by the line of holes down the centre, they break in careless hands, or when strained by a sudden gust of wind blowing on the open-casement.
As they are exposed to the weather when the windows are open, these stays are sometimes made of brass, an excellent material if heavy enough to ensure the requisite strength.
In cities it is almost always from the last of the three. On the other hand, in country districts, well-water is often the only source of supply. Under certain conditions of soil, wells run dry in hot summers, and then the storage of rain-water may become necessary, but this is exceptional
Lever catch for casement windows
In considering any house remote from a public supply, the water question is one of the first and most important matters on which to obtain the fullest information.
A good form of stay for casement windows
The questions to be asked are:
What is the source of supply? If rain-water, how is it stored and filtered?
If well-water, where is the well situated, and what precautions are taken to prevent pollution? Is the water hard or soft?
Should there be any circumstances of a kind to cast doubt upon the purity of the water for domestic purposes, it is wise to leave the house alone, unless the would-be tenant is prepared to spend money in putting things right, or is able to induce the landlord to do so.
Apart from unwholesome pollution, well-water is sometimes rendered unpalatable by the intrusion of roots from a tree in the near vicinity. In a case investigated by the writer, the roots formed a tangled mass almost filling the well. In another instance, the rain-water from the roof was carried directly into the well, with the result that the well-water was always turbid after rain.
These instances show that one cannot be too careful in searching out all possible causes of pollution of the domestic water supply before committing oneself to a tenancy.
Little need be said on this head because rain-water seldom constitutes the main domestic supply. There must be other very great attractions to make desirable a house that depends solely on a rain-water supply.
The water is taken from the roof, and, therefore, is subject to contamination by the organic matter that collects there. Consequently it becomes essential to provide means for rejecting the water that comes down first, otherwise the roof washings will descend to the storage tank. Even then it is safer to boil or efficiently filter it before use.
As a supplementary supply in country districts, rain-water has a very real value for washing and culinary purposes, owing to its softness.
It has been seen already how liable to contamination is well-water. The whole-someness of water from surface wells depends upon the efficiency of the means adopted for guarding it against the infiltration of organic impurities. In many cases no such means exist.
Well-water is usually bright and palatable, but these characteristics may co-exist with organic pollution of the grossest kind.
In taking a country house supplied with water from a surface well, it is imperative that the tenant should have some guarantee that the water is pure, and this can only be obtained by putting the matter into the hands of an expert.
Open wells are always liable to pollution by dirt and other offensive matter blowing or draining into them. The bucket also carries in its quota of dirt every time the water is drawn.
. The best type of well is one that is built in cement for the greater part of its depth, so as to exclude the surface drainage, and is covered in at the top.
Tube wells have the same advantage, since the water is drawn entirely from the lowest level.
The pump should always be indoors, both to guard it against frost, and for convenience. The best arrangement is a " force pump," delivering the water to a cistern in the roof, whence it may be distributed throughout the house. Lead pumps, formerly common, are dangerous when the water is soft. Modern pumps are of iron, which is free from this objection.
A surface well should be covered in at the top, and be built in cement for the greater part of its depth
The cistern should be covered in to exclude dirt and animals, and put in a readily accessible place to permit of periodical cleansing. Every cistern should be provided with a ball-cock of approved pattern.