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Doorknob collectors want to be able to communicate with each other about the knobs they are collecting. Therefore, the Antique Doorknob Collectors of America use a system developed by Leonard Blumin in his book Victorian Decorative Art. This book is available by going to the Book section of this website.
  
The knobs are not only grouped according to their appearance, but also by the school of design, manufacturer, and the date they appeared in a catalog. Here we will only be concerned with the general appearance of the knob. The manufacturer and date are given when known.

 

The knob above: See TDC #100

 

  • Representative
    knobs with recognizable designs of animals, people, or objects on them.

Mallory Wheeler
1880

  • Asymmetric
    knobs with a single overall design on the surface.

Russel & Erwin
1885

  • Odd Shaped
    These knobs are generally not the round knob that you generally think of. They may be hexagonal, curvaceous, rectangular, etc., or a handle of some sort.


A set of screen door knobs;
“push and pull”

  • Field or Diaper
    knobs with an overall pattern that does not fit into another description.

Yale & Towne
1894

  • Spirals and Swirls
    These knobs are just what they say. The pattern is in the form of a spiral or swirl.

Corbin
1895

  • Twofold
    knobs having an identical pattern that is repeated only once.

Penn
1885
 

  • Threefold
    the same pattern is repeated three times.

Sargent
1905
 

  • Fourfold
    Perhaps the most common of formats, the image appears four times on the knob.

Reading
1905
 

  • Fivefold
    less popular format. A pattern repeated five times on the knob

Yale & Towne
1905
 

  • Sixfold
    Again, the pattern is repeated six times. Not as common

A. G. Newman
1876

  • Eightfold
    pattern repeated eight times

Probably Norwalk
1895

  • Radial Symmetry
    Note the pattern emanates from the center outward to the edge of the knob.

Hopkins & Dickinson
1879
 

  • Concentric
    These patterns form concentric circles from the center to the edge of the knob

Peters Com. Lock Co.
1875
 

  • Oval
    Just as stated, these knobs are oval in shape and may have any type of design on them.

Reading
1910

  • Emblematic and Fraternal
    These were customized knobs for buildings including but not restricted to schools, government buildings, hotels, businesses and the like. The photo is a Knights of Columbus knob with inlaid enamel.

 

Russwin
1902

  • Wooden
    Obviously these knobs were made of wood. They were carved, turned or pressed. Some are smooth and others have designs.

Ornamental Wood Co.
1870

  • Glass
    A commonly used material for doorknobs, but extremely hard to photograph to see the detail.

Many different shapes;
very common in the
1920-30s

  • Composition
    knobs of silica diatite, composed of clays and vegetable material; hemicite, containing an original blood ingredient; celluloid, combinations of sawdust and shellac, etc.

 

This knob is made of shellac
and pressed sawdust

  • Porcelain
    ceramic, earthen ware, pottery and china knobs. Common early knobs include “jet” and “white”. Are also fully designed as in the picture.

This knob has its own rose to connect it to the door

  • Paperweight
    These knobs are made of glass and have colored glass imbedded within. See TDC #100

Note resemblance to a paperweight


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