dead as a doorknob

dead as a doorknob

The doorknob above is from the Old US Mint in San Francisco where all the doorknobs bear the likeness of a coin right down to the ridges around the edge. It literally feels good to turn it and it has so much character.

It's hard not to lament the passing of the doorknob.  My grandma has pretty bad arthritis, so I am more than sympathetic to the situation that has resulted in the ascendancy of the door handle instead.  I certainly believe in progress and making things accessible to everyone (or as many people as possible), but there has to be a way to do it that preserves some of the delight of a doorknob.  

“1010.1.9.1 Hardware: Door handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operating devices on doors required to be accessible by Chapter 11 shall not require tight grasping, tight pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate.”
— 2015 International Building Code (IBC)

The saying is actually ‘dead as a doornail’.  Doornails were used to assemble the planks of wood in a door and the ends were bent after they were pounded through the door making them hard to reuse, or dead. 

“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843

Dead as a doorknob is just a misunderstanding of the saying, but it’s soon going to be applicable.  Or so I thought.  While I was writing this post I started paying attention and there are still plenty of doorknobs in the wild.  They’re allowed on people’s houses after all, and they’ve been around since the late 1800s - plenty of time to multiply.

 Doorknobs in the wild

Doorknobs in the wild

miniature buildings

miniature buildings

gaskets + rings

gaskets + rings