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.
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.
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.