The Antique Doorknob was
published in 1976. The decades of 1950-1970 witnessed the often sad
phenomenon known as urban renewal. Aging Victorian houses were destroyed
to make way for modern city dwellings. With luck salvage minded
opportunists arrived before the wrecker’s ball and bulldozer. Ornate
hardware plucked from the ruins made its way to the hands and hearts of
collectors, one of whom was a shy and reserved beauty operator from
Tillamook named Maud Eastwood. Not satisfied with merely owning a
collection of salvaged doorknobs, Maud was driven by a need to learn. A
true scholar emerged, and the hobby of doorknob collecting would never
be the same.
Maud traveled, scoured libraries and
patent documents, talked with collectors, historians, artisans– anyone
who might provide knowledge about the whys and wherefores of doorknob
history. We are truly thankful that Maud then made an even greater
commitment, embarking to share the fruits of her research with others.
The result was a book, The Antique Doorknob or “TAD” for short – a
remarkable achievement. National publications such as The Old House
Journal mentioned TAD with praise, and suddenly Maud was contacted from
near and far by kindred souls who had succumbed to the strange
compulsion to collect old hardware.
1977 saw the publication of a
newsletter, The Antique Doorknob. It wasn’t long before the knobbers
clamored to form an organization, and small groups of collectors began
to meet. By 1981 things were heating up. Arnie Fredrick brought the pot
to a boil with an offer to host a meeting of doorknob collectors from
around the country. The first “convention” was held in Waverly Iowa in
September, 1981, and those attending agreed to the formation of The
Antique Doorknob Collectors of America, or ADCA. Bylaws were drafted,
the club formally “incorporated” and ADCA was granted official status as
a non-profit entity.
By the end of 1981 43 members had
joined, growing to 100 in 1985 and to 200 active members in 1990. By
year 2000 over 500 people had joined ADCA, with over 250 remaining as
active dues-paying members.
For simplicity sake this account
largely omits the names of those who played key roles in the early years
of the club’s formation, but it took the dedicated efforts of many
individuals to achieve success.