Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Door Hardware a Sign of the Times (Today)

Possibly the most popular metal finish today is oil rubbed bronze. Bronze door hardware can either be made of actual bronze or brass. Hardware made of true bronze is treated with a chemical called a patina to create the dark appearance. Hardware made of brass is coated to provide a similar look. Regardless, the color of oil rubbed bronze varies from dark brown to flat black depending on the hardware manufacturer. Therefore, we recommend that the desired color of be carefully thought out prior to making an investment in door hardware. Consider coordinating the door hardware with adjacent home hardware including lighting, floor grates, cabinet hardware, or house numbers.

Brass Door Hardware with an Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish

This Nostalgic Warehouse oil rubbed bronze interior set is made of solid brass that has been finished to appear as oil rubbed bronze.

True Bronze Door Hardware with a Dark Patina

This oil rubbed bronze entry set by Hamilton Sinkler is made of solid bronze. A dark brown patina has been applied giving the set an aged and handsome appearance.

Visit Finish Tips page on the Shop 4 Classics website for more information about hardware finishes options and care considerations.

If you are interested in the styles of door hardware throughout American history, I highly recommend a visit to Web Wilson's Virtual Museum. Here you will find hundreds of well organized images of antique door hardware.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Door Hardware a Sign of the Times (Early to Mid 1900s)

The start of the 1900s brought about a distinctive change in American architectural movements. Gone were the frills of the Victorian design with the emergence of the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts movements. These two movements, however, were very different from each other.

The beginnings of the Arts and Crafts movement can be traced to the late 1800s and lasted through the Early 1900s. The Arts and Crafts movement shunned mass production brought about by the Industrial Revolution in favor of the virtues of hand craftsmanship. The Arts and Crafts movement also emphasized the beauty of nature and simplicity of design rather than the elaborate embellishments characteristic of past architectural movements. The Craftsman bungalow is the quintessential example of Arts and Crafts architecture. Door hardware of the period was often simple like reproduction Prairie doorplate set by Nostalgic Warehouse (right) and the handcrafted Greene doorplate set by Craftsmen Hardware (left).

The Art Deco movement took shape as World War 1 came to an end. The Art Deco period reached its height of popularity during the Roaring 20s when the country enjoyed prosperity and seemingly endless optimism, however, interest waned as the Great Depression took hold. While the Arts and Craft movement held to many of the virtues of the past, the Art Deco period embraced the future. Art Deco design was characterized by symmetry, angles, and modern clean lines. These characteristics can be found in the architecture of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building as well as the Art Deco style door hardware manufactured by Nostalgic Warehouse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Door Hardware a Sign of the Times (1700s through 1800s)

I’ve always appreciated changing styles of American architecture. Interestingly, door hardware offers a great reflection on the characteristics of the architectural trends of the time. Architecture of colonial America was generally simple and straight forward. Similarly, emphasis of door hardware design was placed primarily on functionality rather than style. Throughout the 1800’s a variety of very distinctive architectural styles went in and out of fashion. To varying degrees each of these styles included aspects inspired by earlier, namely European, architectural themes. The great Industrial Revolution brought about advances in technology that enabled the production of large quantities of relatively inexpensive door hardware with highly ornate designs. Further, the building boom spurred by a rising number of middle class home buyers in turn created great demand for this spectacular hardware. Below are a few examples of reproduction door hardware offered by Shop 4 Classics.

Egg-and-Dart Design

This reproduction door hardware by Nostalgic Warehouse features an egg-and-dart motif, a pattern that can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman architecture. This set also features a crystal glass knob. The use of glass knobs was a popular option for door hardware throughout the 1800s.

Neo-Classical Design

This Nostalgic Warehouse’s Victorian style doorplate set features an ornate Neo-Classical design. The Victorian period spanned from the mid 1800s to the 1900s. Homes built during this period typically had elaborate exteriors featuring distinct design elements from one of the several architectural movements of the time.

Visit our Victorian Home Style Guide for more information about the Victorian period.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reflections on Father’s Day

Being a father of two wonderful and at times ornery children, Fathers Day has become a very special day for me. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the sacrifices and worries that our parents endured all of those years. Although not perfect, they were there for us through all of our highs and lows. They worked hard to make our life simple and for the most part trouble free. I now know how difficult this can be at times. Yes, this year I’ll be sure to share with my father the greatest gift I can give, more than a moment of my time to say that all of what he did for me over the years means so much. We here at Shop 4 Classics hope that you are able to take a break this Sunday and truly enjoy this Fathers Day.

Shop 4 Classics is a family owned and operated business. We strive not only to offer a wide selection of product but also provide outstanding customer support throughout entire product selection, purchasing, and installation process.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Twisted Story From The Shop 4 Classics Cold Case File

We here at Shop 4 Classics really enjoy hearing from our customers about their home renovation projects. Occasionally our customers' experiences bring a little humor to our day. One of our favorite stories begins with the delivery of a Sign of the Crab brand clawfoot tub faucet. Since our customer was away at time of delivery, UPS delivered the package to a neighbor. The neighbor noted that the package was from “Sign of the Crab” and concluded that the package contained frozen seafood. Being a responsible person, the neighbor promptly stored the package in her freezer until our customer returned. After sharing a good laugh with the neighbor, our customer thawed and successfully installed the faucet. The moral of this story is to not let the name fool you; Sign of the Crab is one of the most recognized and respected names in antique reproduction plumbing.

Story of the Flag Pole Holder

For several years, Shop 4 Classics offered flag pole holders from Sign of the Crab. The flag pole holders weren't extremely popular but they weren't our niche either. As they did for many Americans, things changed drastically for the flag pole holder on September 11, 2001. After that tragic day, patriotism soared as did interest in the flag pole holder. It briefly became a best seller for Shop 4 Classics. Unfortunately, interest in the flagpole holder eventually waned and Sign of the Crab discontinued the flag pole holder several years later. However, the story of the flag pole holder does not end here. Shop 4 Classics recently began offering decorative hardware from IDH by St. Simons. Among the wide spectrum of architectural hardware is the glorious flag pole holder. The flagpole holders are offered in two sizes with your choice of popular finishes. Whether it be for Old Glory or to proudly display your school colors, you are sure to find a flag pole holder for your application.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baseboard Register or Sleestak

The gravity baseboard register is a familiar fixture in old homes, especially in bungalows from the Arts & Crafts period. However, for decades the gravity-style baseboard register was out of production, extinct if you will. Finding suitable replacements in a salvage yard was like searching for fossils in a dinosaur dig. But unlike the dinosaur (which will never return) or the Sleestak (which never really existed), the gravity baseboard register is back from the land of the lost. And you won't need Chaka's help to find them. Mission Metalworks now manufacturers historically accurate gravity style baseboard registers. Find them online at Shop 4 Classics.