Door handles are a popular and affordable collection | Ancient information and history education
For their many collectors, there is nothing humble about an antique or vintage door handle. After all, even Josiah Wedgwood made them. Much of their appeal is both decorative and functional.
Door handles can take many forms. There are those of the paperweight type which may include sulphide enclosures with images of famous animals or men. Others may have a millefiori pattern (lots of flowers).
The big doorknob hunt began during the bicentennial of 1976 when doorknobs as collectibles started appearing in flea markets for as much as $ 25. In 1981, the Antique Doorknob Collectors of America group consisted of collectors from 12 states. Today there are hundreds of members from across the country.
The interest of collectors began with the publication of the first book on the subject, “The Antique Doorknob”, by Maud Eastwood in 1976. Her own collection numbered approximately 3,000 pieces.
The way you perceive a doorknob will influence the way you collect. Do you see them as works of art? This could include Wedgwood pottery, pressed cast glass, cut glass, porcelain, and various metals ranging from brass to bronze and aluminum.
Ornamental metal buttons are available in many engraved and embossed designs. They are the cheapest. The cheapest are those with monograms and emblems.
When the design is overly ornate, like a bronze animal head, it can sell for over $ 2,000.
Most of the brass buttons date from the 1870s to the beginning of the 20th century. They are generally not expensive.
Putting doorknobs in a historical perspective is important for collectors. Saving these pieces of history from being buried in landfills is a goal for collectors.
If doorknobs can be tied to architectural designs and important buildings, it adds value. For example, Chicago architect Louis Sullivan designed the Chicago Board of Trade building down to the last piece of material.
The 19th century is considered one of the most creative periods for door handles. Some of the finest were made in England from tortoise and abalone scales. Other times, jadeite and semi-precious stones were combined with metals.
The fancy glass door handles were made by Bakewell & Co., Boston, Sandwich Glass Co., and New England Glass Co. They were both blown and molded. The choice are colored buttons in cobalt blue, green and canary yellow.
CLUES: There are reproductions galore. In the 1930s, a fake Wedgwood button was made in New York City. Other current reproductions are popular brass animal buttons. They were originally made in the 1870s by Metallic Compression Casting Co.
For more information, contact the American Doorknob Collectors of America at www.antiquedoorknobs.org.