My husband I moved into a romantic Williamsburg style house built in the early 1950s a few years ago. We undertook a large renovation trying to bring up the style of the house, as it had really never been updated since it had been built. When we were working on it my husband wanted to replace all the old door hardware, to which I shreekingly said “Nooooooo!!!” I went on to explain there is so much history in these antique hardware pieces!
You might have never thought about it, but door hardware, specifically doorknobs and hinges have a long history. The first evidence of hinges being used was as early as 1600 B.C. by early Egyptians, Romans and Babylonians. But the Medieval period would yield the design and manufacture of door handles, door knobs and door knockers.
This early door hardware was carved into ornate designs by expert craftsmen who used mythological creatures and animals as their inspiration. The door knocker even in its simplest form was ornately beaded. At first, wrought iron was used to make door hardware as it was inexpensive and corrosion resistant. Later on, other materials were used but brass would become a favorite because of its high shine.
Of special note is the Victorian era hardware. Decorative bronze and brass door handle designs were plentiful with over a 1,000 being recorded by collectors.
Considering door hardware is another favorite aspect of mine when designing. It’s like the jewelry of the room, sometimes simple and other times ornate!
Antique door knob and plate features a half lion half human head and face.
Architect Design (via)
Monogrammed door handles leading to Marie Antoinette’s personal rooms in the Petit Trianon. I love the artistry in her initials!
The Baltimore Sun (via)
Fanciful designed door handle and plate made of matte finished brass.
Antique Glass Door Knobs (via)
This lovely glass doorknob and plate is reflective of the Victorian era, when glass knobs were especially popular.
These are the ones that were a part of our house when we moved in! Can you imagine if my hubby had just tossed these little treasures out?!
Architectural Salvage (via)
Lions are the most frequently used animal figure used in door handles and knockers. They are symbolic of power and strength and were seen as guardians.