Mid-century modern door hardware from the 1950s & 1960s – plus other popular vintage designs

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Mid-century modern door hardware from the 1950s-1960s

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If you want to figure out when a house was built, one of the first things you can do is to look at the front door.

You can tell a lot from the features on the door itself — the type of wood panels, glass, finish — although you might even be able to identify the age of a home by the doorknob alone.

With space-age design elements like starbursts and swooshes, and the large backplates of various shapes and styles, some of the most popular mid-century modern door hardware that was available back in the fifties and sixties is easily identifiable.

Here’s a look at some of that era’s most iconic elements that were right there out in front.

Dramatic center-mounted ornamental starburst mid-century door hardware

Bright bronze vintage Schlage Astra design door handle and back plate (escutcheon)

Contrasting finishes are effective! This is the Astra design, in bright bronze, mounted on the wide Novo auxiliary escutcheon, finished in brushed chrome.

See how the plain background surface emphasizes the richness of the metals.

Bright bronze vintage Schlage Astra design door handle and back plate (escutcheon)


Vintage mid-century modern door hardware in retro designs (1959)

Polished brass with Holiday knob, and satin anodized aluminum with Concave door knob

Vintage mid-century modern door hardware in retro designs (1959)


Vintage mid-century modern space-age dull bronze door hardware (1959)

Vintage mid-century modern space-age bronze door hardware (1959)


Vintage Schlage Pantheon design brass door hardware

Bright brass glorifies the softly-contoured circles of the Pantheon design with its 8″ escutcheon

Bright brass vintage Schlage Pantheon design door handle and escutcheon

ALSO SEE: 16 kitchen islands: Home inspiration from the ’60s


Dull bronze finish door sets: Holiday & Thor knobs

Another starburst backplate design, and a circular model

Vintage mid-century modern doorknobs and locks from 1959 (6)


Vintage Schlage Saturn design front door knob & backplate

The distinguished spherical knob of the Saturn design is mounted on a banded Riviera auxiliary escutcheon, 5-1/2″ in diameter. Both are finished in bright brass.

Bright brass vintage Schlage spherical Saturn design front door knob and backplate


Polished brass mid-century door locks and backplates: Venus knobs

Mid-century modern doorknobs


Vintage 1950s Schlage Color Accent doorway locks and backplates (1956)

NEW SCHLAGE LOCK STYLINGS LET YOU CREATE COLOR ACCENT DOORWAYS

Color-Accent is achieved by placing color behind an open-back escutcheon to contrast with door surfaces, harmonize with adjacent walls, or complement any part of the doorway.

Schlage’s original open-back stylings let you create the effect-by applying your favorite paint color, cutting a texture to size, or even placing a leftover piece of wallpaper behind the lock. The possibilities are unlimited and you are the designer.

Whether you’re building, buying, remodeling or just in the mood for a change, Schlage’s “Color-Accent” locks give you a wonderful new way to display a fresh fashion note in your doorway decor.

Top: Manhattan design escutcheon. Colored background is paint applied to door. Shown with Tulip design lock.

Bottom: Continental design open-back escutcheon. 11″ x 8″. Background is patterned metal cut to size  and applied to door. Shown with Saturn design lock.

Vintage 1950s Schlage Color Accent doorway locks and backplates (1956)Mid-century 1950s Schlage Color Accent doorway locks and backplates (1956


Vintage mid-century modern Atlas brass handle set (1959)

Vintage mid-century modern Atlas brass doorknob (1959)

ALSO SEE: 47 vintage backyard ideas you’ll want to re-create for a relaxing sixties-style outdoor vibe


Vintage Kwikset Trim Rosettes mid-century door knob

Vintage Kwikset Trim Rosettes mid-century door knob


Vintage Schlage Holiday knobs in dull bronze & anodized aluminum (1959)

Vintage Schlage Holiday knobs from in dull bronze anodized aluminum (1959)


Vintage mid-century modern Challenger brand brass doorknob (1959)

Vintage mid-century modern Challenger brand brass doorknob (1959)

MORE: 20 stunning space-age retro futuristic home concepts from the ’60s


Iconic midcentury modern styles of doorknobs for the front door (1958)

Weiser mod door locks for home from 1958


Vintage Schlage brass mid-century modern front door knob (c1962)

For the front door: Your welcome said in sculptured metals by the famous locks of Schlage

Vintage Schlage brass mid-century modern front door knob


Plus-shaped starburst mid-century brass door knob with deep blue backplate (c1962)

Lovely locks.. the jewels of home — Master craftsmen beauty-style the famous locks by Schlage

The eye and hand are one in pleasure when you meet with a Schlage lock. Though representing only a tiny fraction of total building costs, locks are always seen… say a great deal about family taste.

Today as for a quarter-century, the name that means lock leadership is Schlage. For Schlage designers endow security with charm, wed function with beauty in sculptured metals.

Your builder, architect and dealer know Schlage locks. You will be well-advised to ask for Schlage beauty-styling all through the house. Schlage Lock Company…San Francisco, New York. Vancouver. B.C.

DON’T MISS: 50 mid-century modern carpet styles from the ’50s & ’60s: Vintage wall-to-wall flooring in all its glory

Vintage Schlage iconic starburst design front door handle c1962


Amerock Catalina: Vintage door & drawer pulls and knobs (1962)

Distinctive designs for replacement or new construction. Pol. Chromium, Polished Brass, Satin Copper, Satin Chromium or Dull Bronze. Large bases on pull cover old screw holes and marks — 3″ centers. Pulls start at 29 cents retail.

Amerock Catalina Vintage door drawer pulls and knobs (1962)


Amerock Contemporary: Vintage door & drawer pulls and knobs (1962)

At home in the kitchen, den, or living room. Beautifully finished in Satin Copper, Ebony Black and Gold, Polished Brass, Satin Chromium. Pulls from 39 cents retail.

Amerock Contemporary Vintage door drawer pulls and knobs (1962)


The popular (and iconic) starburst design again, but with a concave Sapphire doorknob

Starburst design door hardware from the late 1950s

 

Of course, not every homeowner in the fifties and sixties was into the mid-century vibe.

Here’s a look at some of the other vintage styles of door knobs, pulls and handles that people were buying back then.

Amerock Modern Provincial: Vintage door & drawer pulls and knobs (1962)

Modern — with elegance and grace of period styling. Pulls and knobs with hinges to match. Choice of Ivory Gold, Antique Copper, Antique English, or Antique Silver finishes. Pulls from 49 cents retail.

Provincial Vintage door and drawer pulls and knobs (1963)


Amerock Colonial: Vintage door & drawer pulls and knobs (1962)

Authentic Early American styling in Colonial Black, Antique Copper, and Antique English finishes. Choice of weathered or smooth-faced patterns. Pulls start at 32 cents retail.

Colonial Vintage door & drawer pulls and knobs (1962)


Vintage painted porcelain Yale & Towne Decor Knobs door hardware (1953)

Recapturing an idea in home decoration reminiscent of an era of gracious living

Now… new beauty for your doors — Designs and colors that harmonize with every decorating scheme.

At last — hand-decorated door knobs that complete the beauty of your home . . . that pull your color scheme together!

Decor Knobs give your rooms new elegance with the exquisite patina, the sparkling decorator colors, the richness that only porcelain can capture. And remember, Decor Knobs are made by Yale & Towne, so you can be sure of their quality and durability.

See Decor Knobs today at your local gift shop or department store. You’ll find styles for every inside door . . . designs to complement every interior from Early American to Modern. And, you can install Decor Knobs yourself in a few minutes . . . simple directions show you how.

The Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company. Chrysler Building. New York 17, N. Y.

Vintage painted porcelain Yale and Towne Decor Knobs door hardware (1953)

Vintage and revival-style door hardware from the mid-century era 1950s 1960s


Revival doorknobs, handles, knockers & pulls from the ’60s (1965)

From American Home magazine – Winter 1965

There’s nothing like good hardware for achieving a perfectionist look. Take your pick of these quality pieces for doors, bathroom, and furniture.

1. Mexican black marble sphere knob and backplate of brass and malachite inlay is imported by Paul Assoc, $24.

2. Traditional colonial brass door knocker. Kraft Cabinet Hardware, $18.

3. “Calcutta,” an exterior doorknob in beaded symmetry has backplate in eight sizes, 2-5/8″ to 12″ diameter. Schlage Lock Co. As shown (8″), $155.

4. Versatile brass and malachite pull imported from Mexico can be used on drawers, cabinets, and doors. Available through Paul Assoc, $24.

5. French doorknob and backplate are brass. Chriscot Hardware Co, $26.

6. This sculptured brass doorknob is suitable for a contemporary setting. Functional because it fits the hand. Chriscot Hardware Co, $16.

7. Floral design is hand painted on white china doorknob. A choice of eight colors is available from the Chriscot Hardware Co, $8.

8. Louis XVI design and old-world craftsmanship are combined in this handsome brass door knocker from Paul Assoc, $69.99.

9. Swirl design door lever adds interest to plain door. Paul Assoc, $69.99.

10. Ancient Egyptian design motifs are highlighted in this important-looking exterior doorknob and plaque from Schlage Lock Co, $162.

11. Amusing key door knocker in brass costs $33, from Schlage Lock Co.

ALSO SEE: 47 vintage backyard ideas you’ll want to re-create for a relaxing sixties-style outdoor vibe

Vintage doorknobs, handles and pulls (1965)


Vintage ’60s home decor hardware: Towel racks and hooks

1. Dress up a bathroom with brass towel rack. Chriscot Hardware Co, $36.

2. Towel ring is wonderful when space is limited. Matching brass bathroom accessories also available from Chriscot Hardware Co, $12.

3. Empire wreath hook, a classic design, is a space saver. Paul Assoc, $7.50.

4. Elegant glass and brass vanity shelf is perfect for holding your toiletries. Available from M Wolchonok & Son for about $18.95.

5. This five-hook brass bar is ideal for both bathroom and bedroom. This piece is also from M Wolchonok & Son. $6.50.

Retro 60s doorknobs, handles and pulls (1965)

AND NOW THIS: See the mid-century modern Scholz Mark ’60 model home from 1960, inside & out

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