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They are constantly working to enlarge their research archive of hardware catalogs and advertising material, and updating their reference book “Victorian Decorative Art,” which documents decorative doorknob designs of the period previously mentioned.
So, what about the earlier hardware, which a good number of us in the Northeast living in homes dating before 1860 might have or had in them?
Like most items that have been subjected to the test of time, certain doorknob styles have risen above the rest to become definitive classics.
If you're restoring a house built between the mid-18th and the mid-20th century, you can't go wrong with one of the knobs below.
With additional decoration (including molded and beaded rims), the style made a big comeback during the Colonial Revival.
(Note: If you're worried about bright, shiny brass knobs stealing the show, look for antique versions, which generally have a more mellow patina.)When American pottery companies began making white porcelain doorknobs based on imported European examples in the mid-1800s, the style took off and stayed in vogue through the first part of the 20th century.
The Victorian period was the height of hardware’s use as decorative art.They're commonly referred to as "Bennington knobs," after the Vermont potteries that helped to popularize the trend.The popularity of brown mineral knobs was relatively short-lived (roughly from the mid-1800s to the turn of the century), and they were most favored by owners of Greek Revival homes.Wooden knobs were primarily plain—either smooth and round, or a squared-off shape with a series of incised lines decorating the edge—but some intricately carved examples did exist.
Because they're relatively obscure, wooden knobs tend to be harder to find, particularly as reproductions—check salvage stores or e Bay for antique versions, which will have a well-worn patina.Porcelain knobs could be found in a variety of house styles, including Italianates, Greek Revivals, early Victorians, and bungalows.