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The evolution of the espagnolette window handle: a joiner’s guide

Written by Lucy Thornton ,
Published on June 19, 2024 at 2:48:37 PM PDT June 19, 2024 at 2:48:37 PM PDTth, June 19, 2024 at 2:48:37 PM PDT
The evolution of the espagnolette window handle: a joiner’s guide

A window handle offers more than just access to the outside – it adds the finishing touch to a window, whether modern or traditional.

An espagnolette (shortened to espag) handle is one of the most popular handles in the UK, offering a highly effective locking mechanism.

The design operates a series of vertical rods (called ‘espagnolette bolts’) that engage with multiple locking points along the window frame.

When the handle is turned, these rods slide into place, securing the window at several points simultaneously.

It’s this unique multipoint locking system that makes the espag handle so popular, as it provides much better security and functionality compared with traditional single point locks.

Modern espag handles come in a variety of designs and finishes, making them ideal for different types of home.

Espagnolette handles - a history

The espag handle dates back to the 17th Century. The name derives from the French word for ‘Spanish’ suggesting an origin from Spain but the design itself was popularised in France during the 1600s.

Early espag systems were relatively basic but the multipoint locking system was revolutionary for the time. There were advancements throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras, incorporating more ornate designs to match the architecture of the time.

Today the espag handle is one of the best sellers on the market, and one of Coastal’s most popular products.

How do espag handles work?

At the heart of the espag handle is the sophisticated locking system, designed for both security and ease of use.

Components involved:

- Handle – this operates the locking mechanism

- Rods/bolts – these vertical bars engage with the locking points

- Locking points – the bolts lock into place here

- Gearbox – this internal component translates the turning of the handle into the movement of the rods

Benefits of using espag window handles


Espag handles are renowned for their superior quality, primarily due to the multipoint locking system. By securing the window at multiple points, these handles significantly reduce the risk of forced entry compared with traditional single point locks

Good looks

Available in a range of finishes and designs, espag handles can be customised to match any style. Whether you prefer the classic elegance of satin brass, the contemporary look of satin stainless steel or the sleek lines of matt black, there is an espag handle to suit

Coastal's SST100 espag handle is manufactured from 316 marine-grade stainless steel

Ease of use

The ergonomic design of the espag handle makes it comfortable to operate with minimal effort. Maintenance is straightforward with occasional lubrication and tightening of screws.

Choosing the right espag handle for your project

When deciding which espag handle to buy, consider the following factors:

Raw materials

Opt for high quality materials such as stainless steel or brass for longevity and durability


Ensure the handles are compatible with the window type and size you are working with

While Coastal’s SST100 espag handle works perfectly on tilt and turn and casement windows, the handle can clash with the frame on some timber windows. Check the drawings for details (see below).

Key features to look for:

- Smooth operation and ergonomic design

- High security multipoint locking system

- Durable materials and finishes

It's also good to choose an espag handle that has matching door hardware; this helps create a stylish look through a home or commercial property.

Coastal's SST100 espag handle is part of a suited range of external door and window hardware

Troubleshooting the espag handle

As with all aspects of the home, windows sometimes need a little TLC to stay in top working condition. Here are some of the most common problems and how to fix them.

Locking points – ensure all locking points are perfectly aligned otherwise you may experience the rods jamming

Stiff operation – moving parts can become stiff over time so be sure to lubricate regularly to ensure smooth operation

Loose handle – over time the screws can become loose so regularly check and tighten where necessary

Clashing with a timber frame – Coastal’s SST100 espagnolette handle is designed for slimline casement or tilt and turn windows. Check the drawings if using on timber windows as the handle can collide with the frame on some timber windows.

Click to download the drawings for the SST100 espag handle


From their rich historical origins, espag handles combine security with good looks and ease of use.

Their contemporary design and high security standards make them perfect for both traditional and modern joinery projects, popular with window manufacturers, fitters and joiners.

Coastal's SST100 espagnolette handle

The SST100 espag handle from Coastal is one of the best on the market.

  • Slim inline profile, ideal for slimline casement windows
  • Manufactured from 316 marine-grade stainless steel for longevity
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Available in three finishes(satin stainless steel, satin brass and satin black)
  • Lockable with flexibility for left or right handing
  • Matching door handles for a suited look

Request a sample

Want to experience the SST100 espag window handle for yourself? Complete the form below, letting us know which finish you'd prefer, and request a sample. We'll be in touch to discuss.

Coastal is ready to talk; get in touch and let us help you find the perfect handles for your next front door project or browse the range online.

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