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The Invention and History of Door Knobs

Old style door knob and knockerDoor knobs have a very interesting history.  Although it is difficult to provide an exact date of when door knobs first came into use, the first documentation of the invention of a door knob was in 1878.  The U.S. Patent Office received a submission made for improvements on a door-closing device by an African American inventor named Osbourn Dorsey. Door knobs and door handles are now a vital part of modern doors!

What Did People Use before Door Knobs and Door Handles Were Invented?

Before door knobs and door handles were invented, people often just used locks with keys, if they could afford to have a lock fitted. Alternatively, instead of locking a door, they would simply keep their valuables in boxes or chests that could be locked, and the key kept safe. For the wealthy, a servant called a Chamberlain would be trusted with the keys to the king’s locks, who would keep his treasures locked away in a bedroom.

Therefore, closing doors and keeping them secured didn’t actually require door knobs. The problem was that locks were very expensive, and poorer people just didn’t have the money to be able to afford them. That meant that they had to rely on simpler, cheaper ways to open and close doors. For this they came up with the latch-string. By using this method, which involved the use of a bar across the door, people inside were kept safe and so were their possessions.

So, instead of a door handle or door knob, they would make a small hole in the door and insert a leather thong or piece of string or cord and loop it around the bar. Pulling the cord enabled the bar to be raised, which meant that someone could enter. This latch-string method wasn’t really practical for interior doors of larger houses, however, as it took too long to undo and redo the latches as you walked through the house.

Internal Door Handles and External Door Handles in Modern Houses

Thankfully, door handles and door knobs are now widespread, both on interior and exterior doors. External door handles may be accompanied by a lock for safety and security, and interior door handles and door knobs may be left without for easy access throughout a building.

As experienced suppliers of contemporary door handles and exquisite door knobs in Sheffield, Handsome Handles have a wide range of door handles, door knobs and door knockers. For more information about our great range, or to make an enquiry, don’t hesitate to contact us on 07961 832812, or visit the contact page of our website to get in touch.

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