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Door Knob or Lever Handle? Living in a period house? Then the answer is likely to be door knob. Levers did not come into popular use until the 1900’s.
Door Knob or Lever Handle? Living in a period house? then the answer is likely to be door knob. Levers did not come into
popular use until the 1900’s.
Historically, opening and closing your doors would have
started with a rock and a piece of string hanging on a rusty iron nail. In fact
that still happens today if I think of my garden shed!
Then we progressed through all sorts of forged iron work
culminating in the ubiquitous Suffolk thumb latch which is still used on plank
doors today. Housing improved and folks switched to panel doors which fitted
more accurately and hence were less draughty but require better locks and
latches. Simple plain brass knobs were the cheapest solution.
Your status in life could be judged by the quality of your
doors and you knobs. The Georgians were really into door knobs of all shapes
and sizes and those in grand houses were works of art. The Victorians
introduced more decorative knobs but in the Edwardian and Deco eras they became
more stylish with the introduction of Bakelite plastic , allowing designers to
add elongated back plates and art deco designs .
Levers came in because knobs had to be set back a little
into the door to stop the user’s knuckles grazing against the frame when
opening and closing. By using a lever the lock can be set closer to the edge of
the door, with the lever taking ones hand away from the frame. It also allowed
for cheaper locks and latches.
Brass is easier than steel to smelt, cast, stamp or polish
and so became the favourite over iron and remained so until the introduction of
aluminium and Mazak materials which could be pressure moulded into elegant
Today, sales of levers far exceed those of knobs and
the range of designs is unimaginably extensive. Classic designs still
stand out as exemplified by our Reeded Beehive and Georgian Bloxwich
Designs in brass and nickle.