February 14, 2014 / Design / News

Presidential Hardware

In honor of Presidents’ Day, take a moment to explore the hardware that was popular during the days of our Founding Fathers.

Federal Era (1789 – 1865)

The birth of our nation marked the beginning of the transition from the Colonial Era to Federal style. Architecture of the American Federal Era embraced the optimism and boldness of the growing nation, and marked a gradual trend toward the unification of forms between the regions. Influenced by English and Greek architecture, many of the earliest government buildings, including the first White House, were built in the new Federal style, featuring columns, cornices, and double-hung windows.

While forged iron hardware was still common, machined parts and the use of brass hardware became more popular during the Federal Era. Rope, bead, acanthus leaf, or Grecian wreath patterns were common and demonstrate the rich influence of Classical design elements.

Classical Hardware

Federal Style Pull; Rope Door Set; French Empire Chandelier

Victorian Era (1850-1910)

By President Lincoln’s era, mass production of hardware and supplies was increasing, allowing more people to include increasingly intricate and creative hardware in their homes.  Traditional house styles and symmetrical lines were abandoned in favor of bolder, more elaborate Victorian designs popularized by Charles Eastlake, and mass-produced by companies like Russell & Erwin.

Brass and bronze were used extensively as material for hardware, and the availability of electrical power and central heat created unique opportunities in hardware design including push-button switches, electrical doorbells and brass floor registers.

Victorian Hardware


Richmond Double Sconce; Eastlake Door Hinge; Lancaster Door Bell

You can learn more the hardware of different Eras in our Shop-by-Style section!