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Antique Door Knobs

One very fun thing about inspecting very old properties is seeing very old things still being used - like the antique door knobs in this house.

Antique door knobs are made of many things - wood, different metals, glass, and porcelain.  They can be extremely artistic, decorative in design or colors or wonderfully plain.

The thing that stands out the most is that they last!

These wonderful door knobs were in an 1858 farmhouse way out in the wilds of countryside Virginia.

The left knob is the rear door and the right the front door.  They are original to the house and still used!

They are both made of porcelain, with the white being the more "formal" and worthy of an entrance.

They both use the original "skeleton keys!"

Old skeleton keys are specifically made for the door they service.   They can open many doors in the house if the wards inside the lock sets are made of the same configuration.  They are called skeleton keys because they are cut to pass through the skeletal structure of the lock set they service.

THESE DOOR LOCKS ARE EXTREMELY SECURE AND CANNOT BE "PICKED" BY AN UNDESIRABLE.

The locks are called WARD LOCKS,  which are a fabulous lock design and can be read about by clicking here.

There were other antique things in the house, which are always fun to see.

For instance, that tall thing in the photo to the right.  Um, not the brush, which is old too.

What is it?

It was common to see these around the fireplace, actually for centuries.

I have actually used one!

And this thing works well!

Let me know what you think it is.

My recommendation:  old is still all around us.  Some things can still be used today!   This particular house was full of old and new, the subject of a future post.  On older properties I often have as much fun seeing what is still there as I do investigating it!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 32 commentsJay Markanich • June 18 2014 02:49AM

Comments

I love unique doors and door knobs. I even have a little collection on Pinterest:)

Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures.

p.s. I'm not sure what is #3:) I'll stop by later again to check the answer.

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA (Barcode Properties) about 4 years ago

Thanks Inna.  The older thing in the photo really works well!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Those door knobs are absolutely beautiful. Everything in swfl is new so I haven't seen them in a while but I remember them when I lived up north back in the day!

Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) about 4 years ago

I've seen several of those knobs/keys over the last few weeks. they are cool to see.  Is that thing something to pump in air/oxygen?

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 4 years ago

Chris - and there are so many designs and styles!  They are gorgeous.

Debbie - I bet you see a lot.  No, that implement has nothing to do with blowing air.  Key word - blowing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

It looks like a small broom used to swept the ashes from the fireplace.  Loved the photos and I would like to have those door knobs

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 4 years ago

James - I say up there that it is not the broom I am asking about.  My grandmother's house had the old glass door knobs.  Very classic.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I love the cool things you can find in old houses too. You just can't find that stuff anymore.

The item in question isn't a bellows?

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 4 years ago

I do too Suzanne.  No, not a bellows.  Think shake.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, I love old homes and you seem to be getting your share of them lately. Gosh, that looks like some sort of popcorn maker...

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 4 years ago

Wow, Tom, you got it!  There is nothing better tasting than air-popped popcorn roasted over a campfire in the woods!  I have used them!

And here people eat, to their detriment, microwave popcorn with "butter."  Yuck and unhealthy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, it is amazing just how well built things were back then!  I am happy whenever I walk into a historic home and see that the subsequent owners haven't taken out all of the original house!

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) about 4 years ago

T&D - once on a house in rural Virginia built in 1855 there was still some musketball holes in the brick, and two wood doors from a battle that happened nearby!  They owners, over all those years, never repaired the holes!  It was very neat to see.  There were blood stains in the attic where they hid two guys who were recovering after the battle!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay- I haven't a clue. One of the reasons I love American Pickers is that they try to find and salvage old things.  You can learn a bit of history as well.  Do you watch it?

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 4 years ago

It's a popcorn popper, Kathy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I bet you found those old knobs just a little above the key holes. I recently read about the skeleton keys for those warded locks. 

When you have skeleton keys and warded locks can good knobs be far away?

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 4 years ago

And when there is no key present, you can actually look through the holes Robert.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Being able to look throughout the holes would be key to the eaves dropper Jay.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 4 years ago

And I did as a kid, Robert!  That's also the one downfall to the system.  If you can get newspaper under the door and if there's a wide enough gap, you can push the key onto the newspaper and pull it outside and use it to get in!  Worked best in offices, not houses so much.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 4 years ago

Ah ha!

Thanks Kathy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Those locks remind me of homes from my childhood.  If there was only a newspaper trick today!

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) about 4 years ago

To bad they can't make locks like this today. Viewing old houses has got to be a fun part of your job. They have so many "unique" items to offer.

I got it right - a Popcorn maker.

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 about 4 years ago

The newspaper trick doesn't work today Gary.  But to our benefit!

Bobbie - I have used that popcorn maker at Boy Scout camp!  Old houses are very fun.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I thought it was a bed warmer....I wouldn't have guessed pop corn popper!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 4 years ago

Sharon - there did used to be bed warmers that looked similar, but they didn't have holes like that.  But that's a pretty good guess!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I don't know the name of that contraption but I believe it was used to fan the flames of the fire. I myself love the glass door knobs.

Posted by Liz Wallace, Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N (Century 21 Sherlock Homes) about 4 years ago

Liz - it's a popcorn popper!  They work great.  I suppose you could fan flames with it though!  My grandmother's house had glass door knobs.  They were beautiful.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I guessed a popcorn popper! I'm off to a turn of the century home tomorrow. I'll have to check out the door knobs!

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) about 4 years ago

I have seen all types Janice.  But just when you think you have seen it all, you know what happens...

Popcorn is great made in those things!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

My parents liked antiques, so we had many types of these locks in the house I grew up in. Along with some neat old light switches - an on button and an off button.

Popcorn!

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) about 4 years ago

My grandmother's house had the two round buttons, one white and one black, for on and off Travis.  I imagine that is what you are describing.  The house probably had knob and tube wiring too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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