‘Can’t you hear me knocking?’
Door knockers have been around since ancient Greece, according to the late history and archaeology scholar Dr. Sterling Dow. According to his research, Athenians attached slaves’ chains to a bar on a door or entryway to prevent others from just walking in; if a slave was asleep when the guest(s) arrived, the guest would knock on the bar waking the slave and alerting the home owner; eventually that bar, which could be a weapon, was changed to a ring.
In 1800s England, door knockers were of cast iron and painted black, according to willowandstone.co.uk; for those who could afford it, they were fashioned into lion heads of bronze or brass. The lion, being a symbol of strength, protection and power, was a popular choice followed by gargoyle heads and the horseshoe.
And, according to blackcountrymetalworks.co.uk, by the Georgian Period most every British home had a door knocker.
Here in 1600s America, door knockers adorned the entrance to the homes of the wealthy, antiquetrader.com reported. The federal eagle was a popular choice and is a design said to have originated here.
Door knockers seem to still be popular and the choices homeowners have are infinite! How does one choose? Some go for their favorite animal, bird, oceanic mammal, flower, etc., time period, spiritual beliefs; gothic, mystical or mythological designs! Or, maybe you lean toward the medieval, Renaissance, Celtic or Italian designs?
From honeybees to dragonflies, hummingbirds to owls, to gargoyles and dragons, horses and farm animals, to lobsters, shellfish, whales, planets and stars in the sky. If you can think it, it’s out there!
Door knockers range in price from the cost of a one-topping pizza to hundreds of dollars, depending on materials and intricacy. Door knockers are made of a variety of materials – brass, chrome, wrought iron, cast iron and steel. Installation depends on what your front door is made of; is it fiberglass, steel, wood, composite?
When you are ready, be sure to position the door knocker at eye or shoulder level. If you want to do it yourself, there are plenty of “how-to” videos on You Tube. Or, here in the Boothbay region, stop in at Grover’s Hardware or Hammond Lumber for some tips! You can use screws or Velcro industrial coins. Attach one Velcro “coin” at the top and bottom of the door knocker, then line them up with the backs attached to your front door and voila!
So, what’s on your front door?