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Old Door Knobs - Types and Fitting

Old Door Knobs - Old Door Handles - Types and Fitting

The door knob in Britain came into common use during the late 18th Century with the advent of mass produced door locks and panelled doors.
These old door knobs usually of cast brass,were supplied with a round steel spindle to which the knobs were taper fitted and held in place by handmade grubscrews.The spindle of these old door knobs had to be hand filed to fit the lock spindle and individual door thickness.This would be done by the supplying ironmonger or locksmith.
From the mid Victorian period old door knob manufacture became more standardised.Hollow spun brass door knobs on square section spindles appeared.The spindles being drilled at intervals for ease of thickness adjustment.
Some early old door knob spindles were of a quarter inch square section (used until the late 1800's),others being five sixteenths square which was to become the standard.
From the latter quarter of the 19th Century Victorian Door Furniture benefitted from increased mechanisation,the great expansion of house building and the rising affluence of the middle classes.
Old door knobs now become available in a wide variety of styles and materials.Brass door knobs by far the most popular due to their decorative appearance and the ability to cast or stamp them with typical Victorian detail.
Old door knobs in china and glass were also popular items of Victorian door furniture.A variety of woods such as Ebony,Oak,Cocoa,Rosewood and the fruitwoods were also popular,often with brass fittings for enhancement.
Less common would be old door knobs in iron,generally this would be chosen for outdoor use due to its durability.
The Edwardian era saw a more restrained style come into fashion,this continued ever plainer through the 1920's and 30's during which old door knobs in Bakelite made their debut.
The elegance of the Georgian,the sheer variety and enthusiasm of the Victorians,the quality of the Edwardians through to the 20's and 30's was alas,to demise with the advent of war in 1939.


Old door knobs
basically fall into three categories:-
1.Those for use with mortice locks (locks mortised or let into the edge of the door,only the faceplate being visible).
2.Those for use with rim locks (a box section lock of steel or brass that screws to the door face and totally visible).
3.Fixed door pulls.

Old door knobs for mortice lock fitting.

These have attached backplates or roses in which the knob turns.The knobs are screwed directly to the door with a loose spindle sandwiched between them to operate the lock mechanism.
There are exceptions to this but essentially all old door knobs for mortice locks require two backplates.

Old door knobs for rim lock fitting.

These have just one backplate or rose (usually loose).This fits to the plain side of the door (non lock side),for the knob to turn on preventing wear to the door.
The knobs must be attached to their spindle.A variety of methods are used,but always adjustable on the spindle for door and lock thickness,fixed by grubscrews.
Without both knobs being attached to the spindle there is nothing to hold the knob on the lock side.Sometimes however,this is achieved by a threaded spindle and collar as in this example
The collar,which held in place by a grubscrew prevents the knob pulling through,a mortice type knob can then be used on the other side.

Old Door Knobs - Fixed.

Commonly known as "centre door pulls" these do not turn but are held in place with a fixing stud or bolt through the door.