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.
This group of hardware is the most important on the list, for if the hinge is out of order or lacking, the door is absolutely useless. It matters little if the latch, lock, or bolt be missing; some simple device will supply the lock and produce the results usually obtained from the missing fixture. Without hinges, however, the door cannot be operated.
Fig. 8. Tee-Hinge with Offset.
Hinges, properly speaking, consist in those appliances which are secured on the faces of the door and frame. Unfortunately they are now made, for the most part, in only the cheap grades, being used on barns and gates and in other inferior locations, and are known as strap hinges (Fig. 7) or tee-hinges (Fig. 8), etc.
The possibility of their artistic use is shown in the fact that manufacturers of high-grade hardware make a variety of hinge plates (Fig. 9) to be screwed on the face of door and frame independent of the butt, to represent the complete hinge.
Fig. 9. Hinge Plates.
It is unfortunate that the hinge proper has dropped so completely out of the house hardware list. In its simple forms it has character and dignity. Some of the best efforts of the Gothic builders and the metal workers of the most artistic periods, have been put forth to produce hinges of perfect workmanship and design. The attempt of the manufacturers to supply the appearance by making the plates separate, has led to the production of unduly elaborated face-plates of thin metal, which are often screwed on without reference to their suitability to the location or surroundings, so that, instead of having the appearance of being a minor item for use in swinging the door, they give the impression that the door is for the special purpose of exhibiting the hardware.
The simple barn hinge may occasionally be used with propriety and good artistic effect. Fig. 10 shows a common form of the hinge on a house door where the finished timbers show throughout. These hinges are fastened by small lag-screws, and, while inexpensive, give a very artistic air to a common stock door. But there is difficulty when such appliances arc used, in finding other fixtures to carry out the idea. In the case above referred to, it was necessary to have a latch forged specially (Fig. 11), as nothing suitable of stock pattern could be found.
The butt (Fig. 12) is that style of hinge (butt hinge) commonly used in swinging doors, sashes, etc., which is screwed to the butt edge of the door and which can be fully seen only when the door is open; when shut, only the knuckles of the butt are visible.
Modern custom requires, in the large majority of cases, that the conventional butt be used, and it should receive the careful consideration of the designer. There are many efforts to give ornamental effects, even in the cheapest of cast-iron butts, by working patterns on the parts never seen except when the door is wide open, and by making ornamental tips on the pin which fastens them together (Fig. 13). These attempts are unfortunate, generally serving merely to emphasize the cheap character of the article; and the plain black, smooth surface is always to be preferred. With slight modifications. these objections may be raised against almost all attempts to make ornamental butts in other materials.
Fig. 10. Barn Hinge Used on House Door.
Fig. 11. Forged Latch to Accompany Hinge of Fig. 10.
Door Butts (and this is, so far, the largest class) are made of cast iron, wrought iron, brass, or bronze, the expense increasing in that order. The cast-iron door butt should be avoided if possible, on account of its brittleness allowing it to break under slight stress, when the door, in falling, often does damage which costs more to repair than would a very expensive butt at the beginning.
Fig. 14 shows the ordinary type of a five-knuckled loose- pin wrought-steel butt. The knuckles are marked A. If the door is hung to the wing E, it is evident that the bearing points of the butt will be at B, B; if the door is hung on the wing marked F, the bearing points will be C, C. D is the head of the loose pin, which extends through the knuckles, as indicated by dotted lines; this can be withdrawn when it is desired to take down the door.
For ordinary doors the butt should not be less than four inches high, with five knuckles to each butt for the loose-pin type. An examination will show that there are always two bearings on each five-knuckled butt, so that if there are three butts to a door there are always six bearing points; and when the weight of the door is considered, with the fact that all this weight is carried from one side, the necessity for ample bearings will be appreciated. The loose pin allows the doors to be taken down readily; and when, from excessive use, the bearings have become worn, it also allows the placing of steel washers (Fig. 15) between the knuckles, to take up the worn portions.
Fig. 12. Plain Butt, Loose-Pin Type.
Wrought - steel butts can be had in plain material and fair workmanship, 4 by 4 inches, as low as $1.30 a dozen pairs, with screws; and from that up to $7.00 a dozen fitted with ball bearings and bronze-plated. The best grade of what is commonly known as the Stanley butt is a good example of this type. Butts are now often made with ball bearings (Fig. 16), which greatly improve the wearing qualities.
Wrought-iron butts are also finished in various ways (especially in Bower Barff, to which finish reference is made later), and in fact can be combined with almost any line of hardware finish. They are to be recommended on account of their mechanical perfection. Cast brass or bronze is used in expensive work, but to be efficient must be very heavy. The material is softer than iron; and if the bearing parts are not protected, they wear rapidly; a drop of one thirty-second of an inch in the door on account of such wear, will at once cause inconvenience.