A lot of my activity has involved mechanisms and devices , both useful and fanciful, of varying degrees of cunning and complication Also a few ‘contraptions’…
Some have been very simple and straightforward and perform useful tasks quite obviously –
Others have either had to be more discreet and use a small amount of hidden cunning; this stainless door latch/bolt, for example, has to achieve a reversal of direction within the fabric of the 65mm thick door –
While this padlock – destined to adorn the pont des arts on the Seine and so not intended to provide high security but still needing to definitely resist the attentions of the curious and the official – employed a system of opening and closing involving the roundel that carried the joyful ‘amoureux’ motif. (not being inexpensive the lock came with a dummy key that could be thrown into the river in the appropriate fashion without ruling out the option of a later return to reclaim it before it was removed by the city authorities, as they apparently do from time to time; the retained key had a potential future as a seal otherwise)
or else aim to deal with specific situations or problems
This latch set has to work from inside without moving the ring handle outside – as the stile is so narrow that the door would then not have been able to open (one could have used a knob instead of a ring handle but this would have been a knuckle grazer, on top of which the customer was very clear about wanting a ring)
The accumulation of items on this old manor house front door meant that the only place the latch could go (without moving the existing hole for the spindle)was some way below. The solution illustrated worked well on the old door and so I used it again on two new doors that were being commisioned;
This little device for a ‘stable’ type door allows the three options of whole door locked closed, whole door open, half door open; (a further refinement would have been half door locked closed but this would have required a whole different system..)
This large face latch speaks for itself;
As does this forged vertical action bolt;
Moving away from doors, other mechanisms have been more complicated – for example this clockwork barbecue;
or this curious contraption (that could, however, still be erected in the space of 5 hours by, mainly, one hardworking teenage son with a spade)
And then, naturally, there have been strings and pulleys – such as this arrangement to be able to blank off an infrequently used fireplace by means of a couple of handles hanging down at the sides of the fire place
or (back to doors) this arrangement of weights and counterweights to ensure safe and silent self closing of a nuisance door in a wedding reception venue for which I had previously provided the door furniture (guests would nip outside discreetly for a breath of air, or similar, often at serious and quiet moments in proceedings, only to be caught out by the doors p.a. system announcing the event to the whole world as it slammed open) The main weight provides the power for the initial closing motion from 90 degrees plus while , at about 30 degrees, the counterweight begins to act against it so that the door does not slam…
And so on…..
and so forth….