‘In the day’ the blacksmith would have been the man to go to when you needed to hang a door; hinges, nails, latches, locks and bolts would all have come from the forge, in levels of complication and finesse attuned to your pocket. While palaces and great houses would often have had locks and latching arrangements of great beauty and intricacy, artefacts that could have taken months and even years of the craftsmans’ time, even the humblest of dwellings, on much smaller budgets, needed to hang, open, close and bar their doors.
Today mass production allows complicated and functional mechanisms to be made cheaply and well. The mortice latch and lock – discreet, effective and available in myriad shapes and sizes – are the default setting for most doors, and, as a result, the lever handle and the door knob – both objects that lend themselves to industrial methods and therefore available in a vast variety of both form and quality – rule supreme. You might suppose that the 21st century smith is going to be out of a job when it comes to doors.
Well, as far as I am concerned, this would not seem to be the case. I still find myself busy making latches, and many other such simple mechanisms, on a regular basis. I can only think that I am not alone in my appreciation of such elegant devices – not just the (hopefully) pleasing visual aspects but also the way they feel in use, the varying sounds of opening and closing…
Here are a few of them with no more than brief commentary. (If you should wish to get a better idea of the context of these jobs they are illustrated in the commissions section of the site, mainly under door and window furniture)
Further details of all these jobs and more can be seen in the Commissions Gallery