Friday, July 12, 2013

More old doors: 1830's interior four-panel doors

One of my readers asked for photos of whole interior doors in the house, to help with the restoration of another 1830's home. So, here they are along with a tiny bit of research on door width.

Nearly all of the doors inside Pugsley are of the exact same construction: four-panel wood doors ranging from 1-1/8" to 1-1/4" in width. One side is trimmed out with a nice trim around the panels, usually the side facing out of the room. So, for example, here are two bedroom doors in the upstairs, both of these shots are taken from the hallway side.

By contrast, the inside of the doors is more plain, with no trim around the panels. This is the side that when swung open would face the wall and not be visible anyway, unless one closes the door and looks at it from inside the room.

And, finally, they are all equally thin and all have thumb latches, rather than door handles, as I have discussed exhaustively on other posts here and here (or you can view all by going to the topic "Thumb Latches" in the topics list on the right hand side of the home page). Here, for purposes of illustration is a side shot of the door shown immediately above:

Doors this old are apparently thinner than later 19th century doors, and due to the thinness of the door cannot take a door knob assembly. I don't know why that might have been the case, but I had seen it mentioned a number of times in various places and have also verified it in an article on the history of door knobs and locks in, titled "The American Doorknob," which you can find in its entirety here.

As you can see from this quote, interior residential doors were generally thin in U.S. construction until the 1840's, with some thicker doors being found in 1820's and 1830's homes.

Mortise locks had been made in England since around 1790, but were not largely used in America until 1840s. This was due to the narrow thickness of the doors in the majority of Colonial period houses. Being 1¼” or less, the doors could not be cut out or mortised to accept such locks. These thin doors were usually equipped either with surface mounted thumb latches, spring latches, or rim locks. Then during the1820s/30s, common interior doors started to become thicker (1½”, 1¾”, 2"), which allowed them to accommodate a mortise lock or latch. 

Thank you to the reader who asked for this info, as this is another piece of evidence dating our house to the 1830's. If more specific close-up detail is needed, please just ask!

1 comment:

  1. Hey there! Thank you for sharing photos of the 1830’s whole interior doors. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about your blog, Like at Pugsley. Keep it up! This is a good read. You have such an interesting and informative page. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well

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