What's Their Story? Cast-Metal Doorknobs
Learn about these expressive knobs worthy of Victorian-era houses
Beginning in the mid-1800s, American foundries created elaborate cast-metal door-knobs to complement new Victorian-era houses.
These Second Empire, Stick, Eastlake, and Queen Anne styles were downright romantic, and deserving of doorknobs that were more expressive than the plain porcelain or pressed-glass ones used before.
During this golden age of doorknobs cast in brass, bronze, and iron, popular motifs included animals, monograms, flowers, ships, and geometric shapes, as well as symbols of fraternal organizations, state seals, and school insignias.
After the turn of the 20th century, you could still find quality castings, but foundries had begun replacing both workmen and artisans with machines. Simple knobs made of inexpensive pressed tin or metal alloys soon became the norm.