This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Introductory. Hardware in building is generally considered to embrace all metallic appliances of a mechanical nature. For example nails, screws binding the various parts together, hinges permitting movement, and locks to secure moving parts in place, are all in the nature of mechanical appliances. Ornamental metallic parts, such as railings, grilles, steps, etc., cannot be classed under this head.
There is no other division of building materials in which the variety is so great or the range of each variety so wide. The distance, for example, separating the cast-iron lock (Fig. 1), at one dollar and a-quarter a dozen, from the cylinder front-door lock (Fig. 2), at seventy-five dollars a dozen, is great. If, however, we were to trace the evolution from the one to the other, we should find that the extremes are connected by such fine gradations and steps that nowhere can any break in type be detected: there is no missing link.
The same conditions in varying extent apply to all other classes of hardware - hinges, bolts, etc. - and to a buyer who consults catalogues, comes the further complication that all items are sold, not according to the price list, but on discounts from such lists. The word discounts is here used advisedly, for there is no one, single discount applied to all classes of hardware. For different types of appliances, there are different discounts. Some items are sold as high as 10 per cent off; the next may carry a discount of 75 per cent;
Fig. 1. Cheap Cast-iron Lock.
and, between these, discounts are varied and graded as delicately as are the types themselves.
Time has had a marked effect in changing the character of hardware. The latches, knockers, or locks of 150 years back are very different from any of the types characteristic of to-day; and while the imitations which can now be made are good in their way, still nowhere in the 150 years is there a marked break in the line of development from the prized antique to the best production of the present day.
As a plain example, take the nails and bolts forged in the "factory" of Jefferson at Monticello, and nearly one hundred years ago used in the trusses over the old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington (Fig. 3); compare them with those in use to-day, and then try to have duplicates forged; and the difficulty of getting the spirit of the past, even in simple things, will be appreciated.
Nationality serves also to ring the changes. The French artisan will make a delicate but strong appliance which reflects unconsciously the influence of the objects of art with which he can and does daily come in contact. The Louvre, with its innumerable treasures of art - freely open to the street-sweeper in his blouse, as well as to the rich - has its effect on national production. The English, from the same design, will produce something not so delicate, nor with such an artistic "go;" but it will be strong, heavy - in fact, English.
The American will make the best reproduction of the design it is possible to get from his machinery in large lots; but it often lacks the fine touch of the artist, which the French impart, or the evident firm ness of purpose of the English.
Also we find the personal element exerting a strong influence As far back as can be traced in history, different men have considereb that they possessed certain qualities, or existed under certain conditions, peculiar to themselves, which in a way distinguished them from their fellows; and they have tried to illustrate such qualities by means of insignia borne by them and put in conspicuous places in their abodes. In this way the escutcheon has always been used as a distinguishing symbol.
Fig. 2. Cylinder Front-Door Lock.
RESIDENCE AT KENOSHA, WIS.
Pond & Pond, Architects. Chicago, 111.
RESIDENCE AT KENOSHA, WIS.
Pond & Pond, Architects, Chicago, 111.
Built in 1905. Cost, $17,000. Exterior Shown on Opposite Page. For Interiors, See Page 331, and Vol. II, Page 170.
Comparatively little attention is paid to heraldry nowadays, especially in America. The use of the symbol on the escutcheon is, in this country, a survival of old customs now rarely seen. The name of escutcheon, however, still clings to what is the most conspicuous piece of house hardware now in use; and this piece of hardware tells the story of the general character of the householder who selected it, just as truly as did the escutcheon of the wandering knight of mediaeval years.
Fig. 3. "Jefferson" Nails and Bolts. From Trusses of Old Senate Chamber in Capitol, Washington, D. C.
It will not be the province of this paper to settle the style or kind of hardware which should be selected by people of different temperaments, or to suit any design; individual tastes and judgment must in each case govern; but it will be its province, in a general way, to point out the characteristics of the material now obtainable, the intention being to offer something more in the nature of suggestion than as an absolute guide.