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Choosing a knocker is typically a decision made on personal preference as-well as the design of the door itself and the exterior of the home; however you should always bear in mind the purpose of the door knocker. Along with other items of furniture for the home the main concept is allowing people outside a house to alert those inside of their presence while providing an attractive addition. The structure of the device consists of a part fixed to the door and an additional part attached by a hinge that may be lifted and used to strike a plate fitted to the door or the door itself- thus making a noise and alerting the occupants within. Although knockers can simply consist of a fitting with a metal ring more often than not they are ornate.
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.
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This is also true of gargoyles which have similar caricatured faces in order to prevent spirits and ghosts from entering the house. There were also good luck knockers which were thought to have magical or healing properties and were used to encourage good luck into the home. These door knockers utilized a motif of good luck charms such as horse-shoes stars suns and flowers. The popular hand shaped knocker is often seen in Muslim countries and was believed to symbolize the Hand of Fatima which protected the house from evil. It was also thought to indicate that the occupants of that house were followers of the Muslim faith.