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Knockers were common and practical in Dickens era but theyve since become replaced by the electric doorbell as the standard alert. Some people use them as decorative ornaments but unlike the knockers from the mid-1800s they serve no practical purpose. Doorways and entrances help define the architectural style of the rest of the structure and any elegance bestowed upon them sets a house apart from its neighbors. While the porch is a gathering place a quality door knocker is the focal point of the entryway. Door knockers dont have a written history but as long as there have been doors there have been alerts that signal a visitor.
The metal is actually an alloy (two or more metals mixed together); usually containing 85-99% tin and the rest copper. Lower-grade pewter has a bluish color because lead is also added. Although there is little practical use for the metal today its still a popular material for decorative objects because it is easy to produce while retaining an elegant texture.Copper is renowned for its ability to withstand the natural elements; it is the only material that doesnt rust. Instead it oxidizes - which means it forms a unique green cover when exposed to oxygen (think of the statue of liberty). Besides aging gracefully copper doesnt physically deteriorate unlike other metals. The oxidation layer makes the metal stronger which reduces the need to replace any door knockers made out of copper.
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It can be difficult to find a new door knocker with the same BC dimension. Especially if the original one has been there for many years. There is no standard for the BC dimension. The BC for the most part is determined by the design of the knocker. The mounting lugs used to attach the hardware are usually placed at a thicker portion of the casting. This is to give them more strength. Sometimes you have to settle for a replacement that is close. If the two BCs are within 1/4 or 3/8 inch of each other you can usually enlarge the holes in the door a bit to make the fit. If you are lucky the existing mounting hardware will cover the enlarged holes.