If you have wood windows in your home that are pre 1950’s chances are they are double hung windows. This means that the upper sash moves downwards and the lower sash moves upwards.
Watch this video for an example of how your window should operate.
The Double hung window with rope and pulley are an american invention. A double hung window means that the upper section moves down and the lower section moves upwards. This helped to effectively cool the home or vent unwanted moisture as hot air leaving acts as a siphon and pulls cool exterior air in as it moves outwards.