horseshoe door knocker
The holes being small due to smaller diameter mounting hardware is easily fixed with a drill. If the holes are to far apart or to close this is another matter. The distance between the holes is called the Bolt Center or BC dimension. There is a reason for this seemingly odd name. You want the bolt to go through the center of the hole so this is the point that you would mark the door to be drilled. The problem you run into when replacing an existing door knocker is the holes are already drilled through your door. On the outside the holes can be covered by the knocker itself but on the inside they are exposed.
It is often mentioned that while a homes porch serves as focal gathering point for residents a traditional door knocker serves as the focal piece of the homes entryway. There has been a lot written about door knockers as these were devices that alerted the presence of an incoming visitor as well as for the eerie sound it makes during the middle of the night perfect for classic horror movie stuff. The earliest traditional door knockers were crafted from wrought iron and these consisted of a thick ring and a plate. This design was popular during the 17th and 18th centuries.
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This will include determining the center to center distance (space between the holes) and selecting a knocker with this same measurement. By doing this there will not be a need to re-drill the door for a new knocker. Choosing a knocker is a very personal experience and there is no right or wrong choices. Pay attention to size and choose a knocker that will look appropriate on your door. If you are unsure it is a great idea to cut out a piece of paper that is the same height and width of the knocker you are thinking of using and tape it against the door (actual shape does not need to be cut out).
Although intricate door knockers are popular these days the origins of that knocker may be something far more regal than it simply looking nice on the door. Greeks were a bit picky about unannounced visits to their dwellings. It was considered a breach of etiquette to enter a dwelling without warning. Where Spartans would simply shout their arrival the more sophisticated Athenians preferred to use a door knocker. Doors had replaced flexible hangings to provide better safety and privacy. Upper class Greeks had slaves whose sole purpose was to answer the door. Its a bit like having a butler but one that was chained to the door to prevent them wandering off.