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The first known knockers were made out of wrought iron. These simple ornaments consisted of a thick ring and a plate which were used in the 17th and 18th centuries throughout North America and Europe. Human faces (not ghastly like Jacob Marley) an animal faces were popular designs that are still used today. The craftsmanship on some of these knockers was elaborate enough to compare to the most-polished sculpture. Basically the purpose is to save the knuckles of visitors. Although they mainly serve as decoration they are still made of brass pewter iron or stainless steel to be durable enough to withstand outdoor elements. Plus they must be heavy enough to make a sound when they are tapped against a door. Cast iron styles have been favorites for a long time for their simplicity and sturdiness. They are also good for complimenting a Western theme. Pewter is another popular material.
Urn door knockers can be found that are mounted to the door by one of two methods. One method uses screws that pass through the knocker and screw into the door. The other method uses bolts or other hardware that goes entirely through the door. Either method works well on wooden doors but the through the door method works best on other doors. It seems that I have answered my own question. The urn door knocker is popular for many good reasons the least of which is that they really look great on the entrance way to a home. The selection of a door knocker may be a bit more difficult than you imagine.
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These were also heavy enough to make a sound when they were tapped against the door. Door knockers made from cast iron have remained fashionable and must-have items because they were sturdy yet simple pieces. Door knockers fashioned out from pewter which is actually an alloy is often viewed as a popular ingredient for making decorative objects since these are generally easy to produce and also retain a significantly elegant feel and texture. Copper is also a good material for making door knockers. This material is famous for withstanding the natural elements because it does not rust.