First job is to make a replacement keeper for this original Georgian lock. The lock dates to around 1790 and probably originated in one of the many back street locksmiths workshops of Wolverhampton. All of the parts are totally hand made from wrought iron bar and sheet brass, the fine finish being achieved by filing and sanding. Even the screws were made to suit each lock with hand cut threads. Possibly the only thing out sourced in the smaller workshops were the keys, these coming from specialist key manufacturers. Later in the Victorian period these workshops were turning out so many locks, that is was said that if a lock was dropped, it was quicker to make a new one, than stop to pick it up.
Anyway back to the bench. Making a keep isn't one of my favourite jobs, it involves a lot hacksawing, bending, cutting, soldering and drilling. The finished result is pictured here, and now along with a good clean of the lock internals, this original Georgian lock should now be good for another 200 years or so.
When listed on site over the next few days, it will be found in our rim lock section here.
The next job is similar but on a larger scale. The making of a replacement keep for a large 10 x 7 inches early Victorian lockable rim latch with interior privacy bolt. Keeps of this size are almost impossible to find, and people never consider saving them when removing the lock. Many of the smaller keeps are now reproduced, but not these, so its time to get hacksawing again. I prefer to use old metal wherever possible for such jobs, and will often have to wait until it presents itself. In this case a redundant window shutter bar of just the correct width, all I have to is cut to length, position correctly, weld the joints, and drill the fixing holes. Again this will appear in our rim lock section soon.
Another Victorian servants bell this week, slightly smaller than the one listed a couple of weeks ago, which sold within five days of being listed on the site. This one probably hadn't seen any attention since the day it was hung, perhaps a 100 to 140 years ago, the steel parts covered in rust, and the brass almost black. So the job is to strip it entirely, remove the surface rust and treat against further rusting, straighten the back fixing plate, and solder repair one small break to same. Polish all brass parts on the polishing mop, and reassemble. The bell now looks almost as good as it did when new, and has a delightful ring tone. Once listed on site it will be found here.
The forerunner of the door bell, was of course the door knocker. Two to work on today, both quite straightforward. The first an unusually large and impressive Victorian iron one. This came in with its paint already removed, so just a case of cleaning and treating against rust, then a coat of clear lacquer. The fixing studs had been cut quite short to suit a relatively thin door, these were discarded and two new ones cut from 5/16 inch Whitworth threaded rod, with new nuts and washers. The second door knocker is of brass and dates from around 1900, this required the fixing holes re-tapped, new 1/4 inch Whitworth studs cut, and new nuts and washers, then a spruce up on the polishing mop.
Next job a Victorian letter box for a new spring, hinge rod, and a polish. The hinge rod on this had virtually rusted through in the centre, yet seized in its locating holes. A quick blast from the blow torch, and a tap with the hammer frees this. While its apart its easier to polish, so another trip to the polishing room. A new rod is cut and the whole reassembled with a new spring, the fixing studs and nuts checked, cleaned, and washers added. Another piece of our Victorian heritage saved. Sood to be found in our letter box section here.
A Victorian Gothic iron gate latch now. Seized and not turning as it should, but freed with some heat and penetrating oil, cleaned, treated against rust, and lacquered.
A pair of Victorian pub door handles, sash window lifts, and some beehive pattern key hole escutcheons now to polish. For what I thought would be an easy but filthy end to a long day. Just my luck the brass on the pub handles had been hard lacquered and painted over, this took some seriously hard polishing to remove, but worth the end result, seen below.