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Choosing Antique Door Handles for Your Period Home

Choosing Antique Door Handles for Your Period Home

Styles of Antique door handles

A common inquiry we have here at Architectural Décor is which style of antique door handle is right for a home of a particular period.

Most of our inquiries about 1860 into the 1930’s and most customers are looking for a pair of handles to operate either a mortice or rim lock or latch. This guide is only based on what we’ve picked up over the years from removing door handles from houses and commercial buildings. From our experience when it comes to vast amount of property’s there seems to be very few hard and fast rules.

Mortice or rim latch

Both were quite common to around 1900 when the mortice lock became more popular.

Knobs or levers

Most definitely knobs up until around 1900, the story goes that if you had knobs you had to have at least two servants to open the door. Levers started to come into fashion in the early 1900’s and by the 1930’s were more common than traditional knobs.


It was quite common in larger Villa type house to have a more decorative door handles downstairs (so visitors could see them), plainer versions on the 1st floor and plain handles on the servants quarters on the top floors. By the late Victorian period there were 1000’s of different manufacturers producing 1000’s of different styles of door knobs.


What we call the Edwardian period goes from about 1900 to around 1920, generally the style became a bit plainer than the Victorian, but still retained some simple decoration.

Edwardian door handles

1920’s & 30’s

With another building boom in this period a huge range of door handles were produced in both knobs and levers, everything from traditional Victorian, the revival of Arts & Crafts/Woodsman/Tudorbethan, sleek Art Deco and an even more plainer handles. 

1920's and 1930's door handles   

Brass, Glass, Wood, Chrome, Copper?

Solid brass, wooden and glass handles were common across all the periods, sometimes iron handles on the top floors of Victorian houses as well as in workers cottages. We’ve also seen iron handles in original Arts & Crafts buildings as well as the periods mentioned above.  As electroplating became more common around 1900 (maybe slightly earlier) it became popular to chrome and copper plate allot of Edwardian door furniture. Oak, ebony & mahogany were popular throughout the 1800's and as the hardwoods became rarer and more expensive you started to see ebonised pine, teak and European oak. 

You can check our latest stock of antique door handles.

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