T Hinges, Butterfly hinges, H hinges and HL hinges.
The Watercourt collection of traditional ironmongery includes a range of door furniture including T hinges, (or Tee hinges as they are sometimes called), butterfly hinges, H hinges and HL hinges. The T hinges (or Tee hinges) are available in a ranges of sizes to fit all doors and heavy duty T hinges (or Tee hinges) can also be made for use on church doors or gates. Our T hinges give an authentic finish to any restoration project and come with fixings supplied. We recommend a wax finish to the T hinges if they are being used internally or the T hinges can be painted black for external use. Our H hinges and HL hinges are ideal for cupboards and cabinet doors. Many of our customers have used H hinges and HL hinges on their custom made kitchen units. We recommend a wax finish to the H hinges and HL hinges if they are being used internally or the H hinges and HL hinges can be painted black for external use. Our butterfly hinges are also ideal for use on cupboards, cabinets and chests. The butterfly hinges are available in a range of sizes and we can either make dainty butterfly hinges or chunky butterfly hinges depending on the customers requirement. We recommend a wax finish to the butterfly hinges if they are being used internally or the butterfly hinges can be painted black for external use. All our door furniture is hand forged in the UK. The door furniture is made using traditional techniques and is hand forged to order.
Suffolk latches, ring latches and pull handles
We also sell a range of pull handles, ring latches and Suffolk latches. We have pull handles available in various sizes. These pull handles are ideal for use on cupboards, kitchens and internal doors. There are D shaped pull handles and teapot shaped pull handles. We recommend a wax finish to the pull handles if they are being used internally or the pull handles can be painted black for external use. Our Suffolk latches are also ideal for both internal and external use and you can use the Suffolk latches on large doors or smaller Suffolk latches on cupboard doors. The Suffolk latches can be supplied with locking pins if required. We think our Suffolk latches give an authentic finish to any renovation or restoration project and are ideal for period properties which would have originally used Suffolk latches. We recommend a wax finish to the Suffolk latches if they are being used internally or the Suffolk latches can be painted black for external use. All our Suffolk latches and pull handles are hand forged in the UK. The Suffolk latches and pull handles are made using traditional techniques and are hand forged to order. Our ring latches are ideal for use on gates or heavy duty doors. The ring latches can be supplied to suit the thickness of the gate in question. We think our ring latches give a decorative finish and are ideal for period properties which would have originally used ring latches. We recommend that the ring latches are painted black for external use. All our ring latches are hand forged in the UK. The ring latches are made by our blacksmith using traditional techniques and are hand forged to order.
Door knockers and door stays
We also sell hand forged door knockers and door stays. We have door knockers available in different sizes and different designs of door knockers. These door knockers are ideal for use external doors. We recommend that the door knockers are painted black for external use. Our door stays are also ideal for both internal and external use and you can use the door stays on large doors and garden gates or smaller door stays can be supplied for cupboard doors if required. We think our door stays are suitable for most applications and are ideal for period properties which would have originally used hand forged door stays. We recommend that the door knockers are painted black for external use. All our door knockers and door stays are hand forged in the UK. The door knockers and door stays are made using traditional techniques and are hand forged to order.
Pantry hooks or butchers hooks
Watercourt can supply pantry hooks or butchers hooks as they are also known. These butchers hooks or pantry hooks can be made in a range of sizes and can be used in kitchens, larders, as coat hooks or the smaller version of the butchers hooks can be used to secure curtain tie-backs. We recommend a wax finish to the butchers hooks if they are being used internally or the butchers hooks can be painted black for external use. All our pantry hooks are hand forged in the UK.
Window catches and window stays
The Watercourt collection of traditional ironmongery includes a range of window furniture including window catches and window stays. The window catches are available in different designs and heavy duty window catches can also be made for use on heavy windows. Our window catches give an authentic finish to any restoration project and come with fixings supplied. We recommend a wax finish to the window catches. Our window stays are also available in different designs to match the window catches. Many of our customers have asked us to manufacture window stays and window catches to match existing window furniture in their period properties. We recommend a wax finish to the window stays. All our window furniture is hand forged in the UK. The window stays and window catches are made using traditional techniques and are hand forged to order.
Hand forged curtain poles.
Our range of traditional ironmongery also includes curtain poles. We have a range of curtain poles with a choice of finials. These curtain poles are all hand forged in the UK. The hand forged curtain poles are made to the customers measurements and are supplied with rings and fixings. The hand forged curtain poles compliment our range of hand forged door furniture and window furniture - they look great with our suffolk latches and T hinges. We recommend a wax finish to the curtain poles. All our curtain poles are hand forged in the UK. The curtain poles are made to order by our blacksmith using traditional techniques.
Companion sets, candle holders, wine racks and boot scrapers.
Our range of traditional ironmongery also includes companion sets, candle holders, wine racks and boot scrapers. The hand forged companion sets are available in a range of designs. The companion set can be either a three piece companion set or a four piece companion set depending on customer preference. Our blacksmith makes all companion sets to order and the companion sets can be finished in wax or black paint. The tools for the companion sets can also be supplied individually. We have recently introduced to our ironmongery range a selection of candle holders. We offer single hand forged candle holders or candle holders that can hold three candles. These candle holders have been designed to compliment or range of hand forged door furniture and our range of hand forged curtain poles. They were specifically designed to match our Watercourt T hinges and Watercourt suffolk latches. We usually offer our hand forged candle holders with a wax finish. Our range of boot scrapers and wine racks are also recent additions to our traditional ironmongery collection. We offer a selection of boot scrapers. These boot scrapers can be floor mounted and can be supplied with long handles if required. The boot scrapers are usually for external use so they will be supplied with black paint finish. Our blacksmith makes these boot scrapers to order using traditional techniques. Our hand forged wine racks make lovely Christmas gifts and the wine racks we offer can either be floor mounted or will sit on a kitchen worktop. The floor mounted wine racks hold up to fourteen bottles and the worktop version of the wine racks hold six bottles. These hand forged wine racks are usually finished in black wax. Our blacksmith makes these wine racks here in the UK using traditional techniques.
We are happy to offer our range of traditional hand forged ironmongery for sale through our website and we offer a service to manufacture bespoke ironmongery products. Any customer wanting bespoke ironmongery should use the contact form. We have supplied bespoke ironmongery to our customers in the past using their drawings and descriptions of the bespoke ironmongery that they require.
A History of T Hinges, H Hinges, HL Hinges and Suffolk Latches
Strap hinges or T hinges are one of the more prominent forms of ironwork and the ends were often delightfully ornamented in the vernacular manner, the most common designs being a spearhead, a double scroll or heart, and a fleur-de-lys but some were plainer. Many examples of T hinges survive from the medieval period onwards.
Most of the earlier T hinges were hung by a loop of each hinge on an iron pintle (a simple L-shaped spike) set into the door jamb. The loop was formed either by turning the end of the T hinge back on itself or by wrapping it around the end of the door. From the 17th century the T hinge was also used for internal doors; it is fixed to the door frame by a vertical base-plate which can be a plain rectangle (late 17th century onwards) or may have a more decorative form (up to about 1675). In the 18th century a very standardised form of T hinge was used, which tapered to an extremely thin neck with a small round end. Although of a standard design, these were still hand made and contrast with the much more regular 19th and 20th century mass-produced T hinges which usually have a simple rounded end.
Smaller types of hinges were used for lighter internal and cupboard doors. H-hinges are common in the late 17th and 18th Centuries; 17th century examples usually have decorative ends, later ones are usually plain. A variant is the very common L-hinge or HL-hinge, used for internal doors in the late 17th and 18th century. Most H hinges and HL hinges are plain, but some have shaped ends. Butterfly hinges and half butterfly hinges are particularly common on small cupboards, especially from about 1670 into the 18th century, but some butterfly hinges may be earlier.
Door handles have two basic forms, the 'drop' handle (Figure 1) and the 'upright' handle. Drop handles are fastened through the door to the latch on the other side by a flat piece of iron. This fastener operates like a split pin, passing through the back-plate, through a hole in the door and then through the latch itself where the ends are splayed (Figure 2) so that a slight turn of the handle lifts the latch off its catch. Drop handles are almost certainly older than upright handles; many church doors retain medieval examples. They were used until the late 17th century in vernacular houses and the heavy loop of the handle was usually formed into either a simple but elegant stirrup or a heart shape. Back-plates are often highly decorative in the medieval tradition with delightful symmetrical patterns, usually either circular or diamond shaped.
Vertical door handles, commonly referred to as either Norfolk or Suffolk latches, can take a variety of forms. The simpler Suffolk latch consists of a handle of flat section with the ends expanded into decorative plates by which it is fixed to the door. It is not known when this design of Suffolk latch was invented, but it is common throughout the 17th century and for much of the 18th century. The later examples of Suffolk latches have very large leaf-shaped ends. Some Suffolk latches incorporate a large rectangular back-plate, often highly decorative, with a handle of roughly circular cross-section forged to it. Both types of vertical handle operate the latch by means of a thumb-plate attached to an iron bar which passes through the door and raises the latch. This mechanism has also been seen in wood in a house in Guernsey and in others in East Sussex.
KNOCKERS, BOLTS AND KEY-PLATES
Other types of door furniture include door knockers, door bolts and key-plates. Door knockers can be similar to drop handles, but are more often round and are usually positioned so as to knock on a T hinge or on one of the iron nails holding the door planks together. There are also various types of long door knockers, some with a decorative back-plate.
Key-plates can be very elaborate or a simple lozenge shape; 18th century examples are generally smaller and simpler and on internal doors are often brass. Locks are usually enclosed in a simple timber case.
Door bolts survive from the 16th century, if not earlier, and can be either round or rectangular in section. Rectangular door bolts often have a saltire cross on one or both ends. Bars, loops or knobs are used to operate the door bolt, and some have elaborate mechanisms to ensure that they cannot be withdrawn from the outside. The bolt fits into an iron hasp on the door frame. Early door bolts are fastened to the door by individual iron hasps, either square or flat in section. From the 18th century, bolts often have a back-plate with integral hasps and guide-pieces. These developed into the standard 19th and 20th century mass-produced items.
Hand Forged Ironmongery and Associated Traditional Ironmongery Products
Once a specific reference to the iron goods produced for domestic rather than industrial use, "ironmongery" has come to mean a much wider range of useful household items – today produced in all sorts of materials, including the original iron, various other metals and plastics. The word is still widely used in Great Britain, as is the term “ironmonger’s” for a supplier of such goods. The equivalents of ironmongery and ironmonger’s in the USA are generally “hardware” and “hardware store”.
Dealing in ironware has a long tradition, dating back to the first recorded use of the metal to fashion useful objects as long ago as 1200 BC, and studying the movement of such goods around the world, often over long distances, has provided valuable insight into early societies and trading patterns.
By the Middle Ages, skilled metalworkers were highly prized for their ability to create a wide range of things, from weaponry right through tools and implements to more humble domestic items, and the local blacksmith remained the principal source of ironmongery until the Industrial Revolution saw the introduction of mass production from the late 18th Century. This came to a climax in the second half of the 19th century, when Victorian ironmongery offered a treasure house of appealing metalwork, with elaborate manufacturers’ catalogues offering literally thousands of wonderful objects to meet each and every need, almost all of which sought to combine practicality with pleasing design.
The second half of the 20th century saw the steady decline of ironmongers’ shops. Although every small town in Britain used to have at least one, their fate has mirrored that of many traditional emporia. The number of ironmongers has fallen dramatically with the advent of DIY superstores that offer a complete range of ironmongery and associated products under one roof, and more recently the arrival of comprehensive mail order catalogues and internet suppliers.
However, there has been a simultaneous revival in the fortunes of old-style hand forged ironmongery, with strong interest in the authentic restoration of period homes leading to demand for items such as traditional iron door hinges, door latches, door knockers, window catches, window stays, Suffolk Latches, hooks, pull handles, curtain poles, companion sets and bespoke ironmongery. There has even been renewed use of “blacksmith nails” – the four-sided hand-made rosehead nails that have so much more character than the modern equivalent. This is typical of a trend that has seen greater appreciation of designs that have stood the test of time, that has allowed hand-forged ironmongery to find a much wider application than use in property restoration – although the practice of incorporating traditional ironmongery into contemporary housing has been helped by thoroughly modern techniques like galvanising and powder coating to inhibit that old enemy of iron – rust.
Hand forged traditional ironmongery has an unenviable look of quality, tactile feel and design uniqueness which is rarely seen or available from modern manufacturing.
A hinge is a type of bearing that connects two solid objects, typically allowing only a limited angle of rotation between them. Two objects connected by an ideal hinge rotate relative to each other about a fixed axis. Hinges may be made of flexible material or of moving components.
In the period between 7th century BC to 1st century AD the Egyptian, Babylonians and Assyrians were using hinges. The hinges used during this time were crude in design and technology. The hinges used by Romans were superior both in design and technology. Romans designed the hinge system not only for huge entrance doors, but also for small household items such as cabinets, doors, drawers etc. The hinges played vital role in Romans life. In 16th and 17th century hinges saw more advancement both in style and technology. Now different materials were used for creating hinges. The use of hinges made easier to operate everyday appliances. 19th century saw the major developments in the field of hinges.
There are many types of door hinge. The main types include:
· Barrel hinge, which is a sectional barrel secured by a pivot.
· Pivot hinge, which pivot in openings in the floor and the top of the door frame. Also referred to as a double-acting floor hinge. This type is found already in ancient dry stone buildings.
· Butt/Mortise hinges, usually in threes or fours, which are inset (mortised) into the door and frame. Most residential hinges found in the U.S. are made of steel, although mortise hinges for exterior doors are often made of brass or stainless steel to prevent corrosion.
· Continuous hinges, which run the entire length of the door (also known as "piano Hinges")
· Concealed hinges used for furniture doors (with or without self-closing feature, and with or without dampening systems). They are made of 2 parts: One part is the hinge cup and the arm; the other part is the mounting plate. Also Euro/cup hinge.
· Butterfly Hinges or Parliament (UK) Hinges. These were known as dovetail hinges from the 17th century onwards and can be found on old desks and cabinets from about 1670 until the 18th century. The form of these hinges varied slightly between manufacturers, and their size ranged from the very large for heavy doors to the tiniest decorative hinge for use on jewellery boxes. Many hinges of this type were exported to America to support the home trade's limited supply. They are still found to be both fairly cheap and decorative, especially on small items.
· T Hinges or Strap hinge – T Hinge and Strap hinge are term for an early hinge and used on many kinds of interior and exterior doors and cabinets. T Hinges vary enormously in size, length, design and materials of construction. From hand forged bespoke hinges to mass produced cast metal or pressed steel hinges, they cover a multitude of applications. Most traditional applications use hand forged T Hinges, although ornate designs are readily available, mass produced in cast metal, powder coated finishes.
· H hinges - Shaped like an H and used on flush mounted doors. Small H hinges (3" to 4") tend to be used for cabinets hinges, while larger hinges (6" to 7") are for passage doors or closet doors.
· HL hinges - Large HL hinges were common for passage doors, room doors and closet doors in the 17th, 18th and even 19th centuries. On taller doors H hinges were occasionally used in the middle along with the HL hinges.
· Pintle Hinges - A heavier duty hinge, simple in design, supplied with the knock-in pintle or screw on pintle. Suitable for interior and exterior (with correct finishing) doors in most applications, such as barns, stables, sheds, other outbuildings, scullery etc.
A latch (called sneck in Northern England) is a type of mechanical fastener that is used to join two (or more) objects or surfaces together while allowing for the regular or eventual separation of the objects or surfaces.
Note that a latch is not the same as the locking mechanism of a door or window, although often they are found together in the same product.
A latch typically engages another piece of hardware on the other mounting surface. Depending upon the type and design of the latch, this engaged bit of hardware may be known as a keeper or strike.
Latches range in complexity from flexible one piece flat springs of metal or plastic, such as are used to keep blow moulded plastic power tool cases closed, to multi-point cammed latches used to keep large doors closed.
A Norfolk latch is a type of latch incorporating a simple thumb actuated lever and commonly used to hold wooden gates and doors closed. In a Norfolk latch, the handle is fitted to a back plate independently of the thumb piece.
Introduced around 1800 - 1820, Norfolk latches, originating in the English county of the same name, differ from the older Suffolk latch, which lacked a back plate to which the thumb piece is attached.
A Suffolk latch is a type of latch incorporating a simple thumb actuated lever and commonly used to hold wooden gates and doors closed.
The Suffolk latch originated in the English county of Suffolk in the 16th century and stayed in common use until the 19th century. They have recently come back into favour, particularly on garden gates and sheds. They were common from the 1600s to around 1825, and their lack of a back plate made them different from the later, and neighbouring Norfolk latch (introduced 1800 - 1820). Many of these plates found their way into America and other parts of the world.
Door knocker - A door knocker is an item of door furniture that allows people outside a house to alert those inside to their presence. A door knocker has a part fixed to the door, and a part (usually metal) attached to it by a hinge that may be lifted and used to strike a plate fitted to the door, or the door itself, making a noise. The struck plate, if present, would be supplied and fitted with the knocker.
Door knockers are often ornate, but may be no more than a simple fitting with a metal bob or ring.
Ring Latch – this is an item of door furniture which is a more decorative (and basic) form of traditional door latch, often comprising a traditional or ornate design of ring handle which, when rotated against a pivoting screw will lift a latch bar from the keep located in the door frame. The ring latch can be operated from either side of the door allowing entrance and egress. Ring latches in their own right are, today, not a secure means of locking the door and should be supplemented with a recognised door lock. They do however give an olde worlde look to traditional cottage style properties.
Boot Scraper – another accompaniment to traditional hand forged door furniture is a boot scraper. Not often seen outside modern day houses, boot scrapers could either be inset into the building wall, be freestanding or even fixed to the ground. Depending on the application the boot scraper could also have a long handle to support the lady or gent when they were using it. As with most ironmongery, the boot scraper had many designs and materials of construction from cast metal to fabricated metal to traditional hand forged. Individual boot scraper designs tended to follow the style of the remainder of the ironmongery used at the property.
Window Stays and catches - A casement window (or casement) is a window that is attached to its frame by one or more hinges. Casement windows typically are hinged at the side, sometimes at the top or bottom. They are used singly or in pairs within a common frame, in which case they are hinged on the outside.
Casement windows were the most common house window before the sash window was introduced, and usually contain leaded glass. These casement windows usually were hinged on the side, and opened inward. The windows were covered by functional exterior shutters, which opened outward.
They are opened with a crank, lever, or cam handle, which is placed around hand height or at the bottom and serves as a window lock. A crank, stay, or friction hinge is necessary when the window opens outward, to hold the window in position despite wind.
Fasteners for windows come in various designs but all work on a similar principle. Materials of construction vary but traditional window furniture is generally hand forged.
Casement stays (or window stay) – These are used as a means keeping a casement window open in a fixed position. The degree of opening is determined by either a series of holes along the length of the stay, or by a sliding mechanism which can be locked in any position along the bar of the stay. The window is secured in the closed position by means of pins which are screwed to the frame, upon which the holes in the arm of the stay are positioned. Modern window stays also have a means of locking the bar of the stay in position as an added security measure.
A casement fastener (window catch) is a means by which the casement window can also be locked in the closed position. There is sometimes a facility on the window catch which allows the window to open only slightly in a semi closed position. Again window catches come in varying designs but principally operate in the same way. The window catch consists of a handle which can pivot on a back plate. This part of the window catch is fitted to the opening part of the casement window. The handle can be rats tail, monkey tail or more traditional / rustic design. Part of the handle has a locking bar which locates into a mortise plate or surface mounted keep which is fitted to the window frame itself. Window catches tend to be handed for casement windows hinged on different sides.
Pantry Hooks / Butchers Hooks – Hooks come in many forms and designs and cover a multitude of hook applications. Door hooks, coat hooks, curtain hooks, tie back hooks are just some examples. There are two basic styles of Pantry Hook – the screw in pantry hook or the knock in pantry hook. By definition the head of the pantry hook is screwed in position. The head design can vary enormously and quite often complements the blacksmith’s or manufacturer’s trademark. The knock in pantry hook has a head which is forged (or cast) into a point which is them hammered into the timber support for the hook.
Pull Handle – By description a pull handle is fitted to a door or drawer (or something similar) which will allow a person to pull the item open. Handles have been forged, pressed, moulded or cast and fabricated over a period of time as styles and fashions change and the variation in design is enormous. Pull handles not only vary in design but also size dependant on the particular application. The more delicate applications have pull handles where the grip need only required the use of a small amount of force is required to open the item. In heavier duty applications the size and grip on the pull handle can be quite large, where more effort is required to open a large door, for example. The traditional method of fixing pull handles is generally by screws or threaded bar with nuts and washers.
Cupboard Latch – these are simple hand forged door latches, designed for operation only from one side of the door (normally the outside). Based on the door latch principle with a lifter bar, keep and staple, the cupboard latch can be used for any size of cupboard applications
Companion Set – traditional ironmongery for open fires, comprising various tools which are mounted on a stand. Traditional tools for a companion set are hearth brush, shovel, scissor or sprung tongs and poker but may also have a chestnut pan or a fork. There may be a wide choice of designs for companion sets in terms of materials and design. Typically many companion sets are seen with a rams head design and a choice of three or four tools, but can be any style in keeping with the application, such as ball & basket, rats tail or just a plain handle.
Kindling Basket – an accompaniment to the hand forged companion set – a simple design of hand forged basket for kindling and sticks, with a handle design to match that of the companion set. The kindling basket can be made to suit any application from small open fires to large inglenook fireplaces. The kindling basket design can also be enlarged to offer storage for logs.
Curtain Poles – Often seen in traditional surroundings, curtain poles are a popular feature and can have many variations in design in terms of finials. Hand forged curtain poles from Watercourt are made in 2 styles, traditional or heritage. Traditional curtain poles have two or more separate brackets which are surface mounted above and either side of the window opening. The curtain pole is a loose fitting pole that sits in the curved design of the bracket. Either end of the curtain pole there is a finial which can be of any design to suit the end user.
More typical of traditional curtain poles are the Shepherd’s Crook, Twisted Tail or Ball End designs but the choice is endless. Curtain poles have a number of curtain rings onto which the curtains are attached. The designs of hand forged curtain poles (and the brackets) can be changed to suit a customer’s own requirements in terms of obstructions for the curtains (wide window sills, radiators or windows tight up into corners. Ready made curtain poles do not readily offer this flexibility.
Heritage curtain poles offer the same flexibility in terms of finials, but unlike the traditional curtain pole, the Heritage curtain pole has fixed brackets and is of a lighter duty, but still hand forged, construction.
Candle Holder – a table or wall mounted candle holder to complement the ironmongery used within the traditional property. As with all ironmongery the candle holder can have many designs and materials of construction. Typically the Watercourt candle holder can hold one, two or three candles to suit the customer, and be wall or table mounted. In terms of design the Watercourt candle holders can match the style of their traditional hand forged door and window furniture, or have an alternative bespoke design.
Bespoke Ironmongery – Fire grates to garden benches, weathervanes to giant sculptures, hanging brackets to beds. Hand forging techniques can be adapted to make any bespoke application. One off commissions to a property full of matching ironwork from the traditional country cottage to the Victorian mansion. Hand forged ironwork can be new to suit bespoke designs or a replicate existing items which are no longer cost effectively, readily available in the world of modern manufacturing. Whether in restoration or new build, heritage work or barn conversion, hand forged ironmongery and products suit all applications.