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Origins of door knockers A door knocker is an item of door furniture that allows people outside a house to alert those inside to their presence. It has a part fixed to the door and a part (usually metal) which is attached to the door by a hinge that is lifted and used to strike a plate fitted to the door making a noise. The strike plate if present would be supplied and fitted with the knocker. Door knockers are often ornate but may be no more than a simple fitting with a metal bob or ring. Many older period houses and mansions often have intricate knockers in the shape of human heads or mythical beasts. The earlier designs were based on statues that would stand in front of ancient Greek houses. These statues were created with distorted grotesque features and were thought to be used to ward of malignant spirits and witches.
If they didnt die of boredom theyd fall asleep and so to wake them up visitors rapped on the door with a short bar of iron attached to a chain. It soon occurred to all that the iron bar could be utilized as a weapon. In order to prevent unwanted attacks they soon learned to attach the bar to the door by a hinge. Thus evolved the modern door knocker. Choosing new door hardware For a selection of knockers to fit any decor many informative sources are available. Choose a style you like including Round lever style or a personalized design. Many different finishes are available. They include brass chrome stainless steel and other miscellaneous finishes. It is important that a good quality item is selected for exterior use.
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Different manufacturers describe them as Grecian Urns or Victorian Urns. Each appears to have some merit. It is possible that the relationship to eras revolves around the designs used as each period features its own distinctive style of ornamentation. Some are embellished with flower patterns while others have leaves and feathers. Among my personal favorites being an engraver is the old standard swirling vine pattern that generally seems to fit the urn door knocker form well. I have even come across them adorned with cherubs and angels.