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There is nothing visible on the inside when surface mounting is used. If this is the first installation of a door knocker on this door either method may be used. If you are replacing an existing door knocker that has a through the door mount you will have the existing holes in the door to consider. Is it engraved? What are you going to engrave? Is your purchase engraveable? These questions need to be thought out before you purchase. It is advisable to purchase your door knocker from the same company that is going to engrave it. This way you should receive good advice as to what can be done and for how much money. You must also consider that engraving could damage the surface.
The classic urn design has many areas that are conducive to ornamentation. Of course one of the most popular is the plain polished finish with no ornamentation at all. Most urn designs are perfectly suited for engraving. The common shape offers an excellent engraving area centering the hinge location of the clapper. This area is usually a pleasant rectangular shape that will hold a name or address nicely. Many manufacturers also design an engraving area onto the clapper. This shape can be a square or an oval depending on the manufacturer. The clapper area usually looks good whether it is engraved or not.
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I find them fascinating historically as well as artistically. Over time many common designs have evolved. Some designs have turned out to be more popular than others. The urn style is among these. The ornaments and patterns have changed but the basic shape has remained. It has always interested me as to what made the classic urn style so well liked. The look does sort of resemble an ancient urn but in reality it does not really look much like one. In contemporary times people have little relation the urn with the exception of a burial container following cremation. What then makes the urn shape so popular for a door knocker? There are varying versions of the ascendance of the design. It is said that the classic urn shape has its origins in the Grecian or Victorian times.