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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.
The urn door knocker is versatile and looks good on most modern day homes. It possesses a universal appeal that seems to fit in nicely with most architecture. It is available in many sizes varying from a small 4" height or less to very large 12" high. The size selection would be determined by the doorway that the door knocker is to be mounted on and the budget allowed. Some urn door knockers incorporate eye viewers as these fit in this design well. The eye viewer may be situated at the approximate center of the door knocker or it might be located at the top. When at the top the eye viewer usually replaces the upper installation hardware. The addition of the eye viewer provides the additional safety factor of being able to see who is at your door.
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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.