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The History of Doorknobs

During the Middle Ages, interior doors were rare, and exterior doors were secured using simple heavy beams. In the late 1500s, interior doors started popping up in the homes of the wealthy; for example, the Palace of Versailles was built with delicate doorknobs. When doors became more common in modest homes, they often had a metal lock-and-key system, but no handles. Doorknobs finally became commonplace after the American Revolution, when the United States began producing their own goods. Between 1830 and 1873, over 100 U.S. patents were granted for doorknobs. However, many early models were complicated in design and difficult to use. Cast-metal knobs were introduced around 1846, and decorative hardware came out after the Centennial Exposition of 1876, during the Victorian era. Today, doorknobs are available in a variety of decorative styles. Integrated locking mechanisms have also come a long way in the modern era – keys, keypads, and voice-activated or app-activated smart doorknobs are all available for consumers to choose from.

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