There once was a time — 80 or so years ago — when multifaceted glass doorknobs with mirrored star-burst centers were standard issue in new homes. Today, they are mined like diamonds at salvage yards and flea markets. Unlike the flimsy "builder's special" models now sold at he corner hardware store, glass knobs from the first half of the 20th century were made to last, mounted in steel or brass shanks, as opposed to the brittle metal alloy and plastic ones used now, says Brad Kittel, president of the Antique Doorknob Collectors of America. Their enduring craftsmanship and design — and their ability to work with most modern locksets — have earned them preferential status among owners of old and new houses alike.

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