Many of us senior citizens today grew up in our grandparents homes for the Sunday lunch, and school holidays. Our grandparents home was pre 1920's and had brass or cast door knobs on roses or plates adorning the doors. Mostly brass decor adorned the doors and cupboards but new trends saw painted finishes appearing after the war.
Antique doorknobs hold immense potential to make a powerful interior design statement, particularly in the context of an old house, where their presence can be most striking, particularly at the front door.
These vintage treasures possess a unique charm and character that can evoke a sense of nostalgia and elegance, instantly transporting visitors to a bygone era. With their intricate designs, ornate patterns, and exquisite craftsmanship, antique doorknobs become not just functional hardware but also artistic pieces that add a touch of timeless beauty to any space.
They serve as a captivating focal point, catching the eye and becoming a conversation starter, while also lending a touch of authenticity and historical significance to the overall aesthetic of the house.
Whether the house is a Victorian-era gem, a rustic farmhouse, or a classic colonial, antique doorknobs effortlessly blend with the architectural style, further enhancing its allure. The tactile experience of turning a well-preserved antique doorknob provides a tangible connection to the past, inviting inhabitants and visitors alike to appreciate the rich history and character embedded within the walls.
For those of you seeking traditional, read on to learn a little history and where you can find traditional door hardware today. All images supplied by TradCo
Times of Change
During the period spanning from 1830 to 1873, a significant surge in innovation and design within the realm of doorknobs was witnessed, resulting in a substantial number of patents being granted.
It was an era marked by remarkable advancements in various industries, including architecture and interior design. Notably, around 1846, a significant breakthrough occurred with the introduction of cast metal doorknobs. This marked a significant departure from the earlier materials used, such as wood or simple metal knobs.
The advent of cast metal doorknobs brought forth a new level of durability, intricacy, and aesthetic appeal. Craftsmen and designers embraced the possibilities offered by this technique, allowing them to create doorknobs with intricate patterns, ornamental motifs, and decorative flourishes.
These cast metal doorknobs quickly gained popularity and became increasingly accessible to homeowners, further fueling their demand. This period witnessed a blossoming of creativity, as skilled artisans and manufacturers took advantage of the newfound manufacturing techniques to produce doorknobs that were not just functional but also works of art in their own right.
The patent filings and the availability of cast metal doorknobs during this time reflect a transformative era in doorknob design, where a blend of innovation, craftsmanship, and artistic expression converged to shape the landscape of interior design.
Cast Metal Craft
The introduction of cast metal doorknobs in the mid-19th century paved the way for a remarkable development in the world of hardware design. As the Victorian era unfolded, an explosion of matching hardware suites crafted from bronze, brass, and iron began to captivate homeowners and interior enthusiasts alike.
These hardware suites comprised not only doorknobs but also an array of complementary pieces, including hinges, backplates, escutcheons, and door knockers. This comprehensive approach to hardware design allowed homeowners to create a cohesive and harmonious aesthetic throughout their homes. The popularity of these matching hardware suites can be attributed to several factors.
Firstly, the availability of cast metal doorknobs facilitated the creation of intricate designs and ornate detailing, which perfectly aligned with the prevailing Victorian design sensibilities.
Secondly, the use of bronze, brass, and iron as materials exuded a sense of opulence, durability, and craftsmanship that appealed to the aspirations and tastes of the era. The marketing efforts of hardware manufacturers further fueled the demand for these suites, as they skillfully positioned them as essential elements for creating a grand and sophisticated ambiance within the Victorian home.
The result was an era of unparalleled creativity and variety in hardware design, where homeowners had a vast array of options to choose from, ensuring that their doorknobs and associated hardware became integral components of the overall interior design narrative.
Pressed Glass Revolution
The year 1915 marked a significant turning point in the world of doorknob manufacturing, as the advent of pressed glass doorknobs revolutionized the industry. These doorknobs, crafted through a process of pressing molten glass into molds, quickly gained widespread popularity and became a prevalent choice among homeowners.
The availability and affordability of pressed glass allowed for mass production, making these doorknobs accessible to a wider range of consumers. Their appeal lay in their ability to mimic the look of more expensive materials, such as crystal or cut glass, while being more economical to produce.
Pressed glass doorknobs offered a delicate beauty, often featuring intricate patterns, textures, and even vibrant colors, adding a touch of elegance and visual interest to doors. Their translucent nature allowed light to pass through, creating mesmerizing effects when illuminated by natural or artificial light sources.
Moreover, pressed glass doorknobs provided a tactile experience that was distinct from their metal counterparts, offering a smooth and cool touch that added to their allure. The widespread manufacturing and popularity of pressed glass doorknobs during this era not only transformed the options available to homeowners but also became emblematic of the changing tastes and design preferences of the time.
These glass treasures continue to be admired today for their vintage charm and their role in shaping the evolution of doorknob design.
The Inexpensive Porcelain
In contrast to the intricate and ornate doorknobs of previous eras, inexpensive porcelain knobs emerged as a common and practical choice for many homeowners. These simple yet functional knobs, typically available in black or white, became ubiquitous during various periods of time. Their widespread usage can be attributed to several factors.
Firstly, porcelain was a cost-effective material that could be easily mass-produced, making it accessible to a wide range of consumers. The affordability of these knobs made them a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties.
Secondly, their neutral color options of black and white allowed for easy integration into a variety of interior design styles, making them versatile and adaptable to different decorative schemes. These knobs offered a clean and understated aesthetic that complemented both modern and traditional settings.
Despite their simplicity, inexpensive porcelain knobs played an essential role in facilitating smooth and effortless access to various rooms and spaces. Their understated appearance often allowed other elements of the door or surrounding architecture to take center stage, ensuring a balanced and cohesive overall design.
The prevalence of these affordable porcelain knobs showcased a practical and budget-friendly solution for homeowners seeking functionality without compromising on style.
The Introduction of Chrome
The mid-1930s marked a significant shift in the popularity of doorknob materials, with the rise of chrome as a prevalent choice among homeowners. Chrome, a reflective and lustrous metal, gained traction due to its sleek and modern aesthetic. Its smooth and polished surface exuded a contemporary elegance that appealed to the design sensibilities of the time.
As the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles gained prominence, chrome doorknobs became the embodiment of modernity and sophistication. The use of chrome not only added a touch of glamour but also reflected and enhanced the surrounding environment, making it particularly suitable for spaces aiming for a polished and futuristic ambiance.
The increased prevalence of chrome doorknobs was also influenced by technological advancements in plating and finishing techniques, which allowed for a more durable and resilient surface. This durability, coupled with the ease of cleaning and maintenance, made chrome doorknobs a practical choice for homeowners.
Whether adorning the entryway of a sleek urban apartment or a cutting-edge commercial space, chrome doorknobs became synonymous with contemporary design and a symbol of the ever-evolving tastes in architectural hardware.
Door Knobs and Personality
Door knobs serve as more than just functional hardware; they also provide an opportunity to make a decorative statement and add a touch of personal style to a space. One of the advantages of door knobs is their ease of upgrade.
Whether you're looking to refresh the look of a room or give your entire home a makeover, swapping out door knobs can make a significant impact with minimal effort. With a wide variety of styles, finishes, and materials available, you can find door knobs that align with your desired aesthetic, whether it's classic, modern, rustic, or eclectic. Upgrading door knobs allows you to infuse your own personality into your living space and create a cohesive look that enhances the overall design scheme.
In addition to their decorative potential, the process of upgrading door knobs is relatively straightforward. Most door knobs can be easily removed and replaced with just a few basic tools. This makes it a manageable DIY project for homeowners who enjoy tackling small improvements around the house.
With a little bit of time and effort, you can transform the appearance of your doors and elevate the overall atmosphere of your home. Furthermore, door knobs are available at various price points, allowing you to find options that suit your budget without compromising on style or quality.
By upgrading door knobs, you can breathe new life into both interior and exterior doors, revitalizing the overall look and feel of your living space. Whether you choose to go for a cohesive design throughout your home or experiment with unique door knobs in different rooms, this simple upgrade has the potential to make a significant visual impact.
From vintage-inspired knobs to sleek and contemporary designs, the options are virtually endless, ensuring that you can find the perfect door knobs to reflect your personal taste and enhance the character of your home.
On The Hunt For Old Style
When looking for traditional door hardware there are several options: from searching junk yards, antique dealers, demolition projects, car boot sales, local markets, and the for-sale ads. And don't forget to be on the lookout as you drive down old country lanes where old houses lurk, you may come across a barn find!
When looking for traditional door hardware off the shelf, one such supplier is TradCo. Known for their extensive collection of traditional door hardware. TradCo provides a wide selection of door knobs, handles, locks, hinges, and other accessories that exude a timeless and classic charm. They are one supplier with a wide range but there are others too not to be ignored.
The TradCo range encompasses various styles, including Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, and more, allowing homeowners to find the perfect traditional hardware to match their specific architectural era or design theme.
With their focus on quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, TradCo is a reliable source for those seeking authentic and high-quality traditional door hardware. To simplify your search for traditional door hardware, we invite you to visit our showroom, where we proudly display the extensive range of door hardware from TradCo.
By visiting our showroom at Architectural Design Hardware, you can explore the various styles, finishes, and options available firsthand, allowing you to make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences. Our knowledgeable staff will be on hand to provide guidance, answer any questions you may have, and ensure that you find the perfect traditional door hardware to enhance the beauty and functionality of your space.
Old Locks and Skeleton Keys
Old locks and skeleton keys, remnants of a bygone era, continue to exist and hold a certain fascination even in modern times. While newer and more secure locking mechanisms have become prevalent, these antique relics can still be found and appreciated by enthusiasts, collectors, and those who appreciate the charm of the past.
Old locks and skeleton keys carry with them a sense of history and mystery, harking back to a time when security was approached in a different manner. The craftsmanship and intricate designs of these vintage locks are a testament to the artistry and ingenuity of the past. While they may not be as widely used in everyday life today, they often find new life as decorative pieces or nostalgic reminders of a time when keys were carefully crafted to fit unique locks.
Whether they are found in antique stores, online marketplaces, or even inherited through generations, old locks and skeleton keys continue to captivate and evoke a sense of nostalgia, connecting us to a rich heritage of craftsmanship and security practices of the past.
Do you have an old lock in need of repair? Try our locksmith.