Hardware & Lighting Inspired by the American Federal Era
Defined by a plain-spoken elegance, the Philadelphia Collection recalls the hand-crafted hardware and lighting of the Federal era (circa 1780-1820). While the homes of the age displayed stately symmetry and understated classical details, most door fittings, light fixtures, and other hardware items were purposely simple in form and material. The work of blacksmiths and metal founders, they have an honesty and sturdiness perfectly in harmony with their function. Wrought iron, brass, wood, and tin were the materials of choice, both for their affordability and durability. In any room you might find a pleasing mix of metals – black iron for the chandelier, rim lock, and hinges, polished brass for the doorknobs, sash locks, and furniture pulls.
By the 1830s this home-spun style had been supplanted by the Greek Revival and other more romantic European influences. During the early decades of the twentieth century, however, the popularity of Federal homes and furnishings peaked once again as the Colonial Revival movement swept America. Countless homes from coast-to-coast built over the past hundred years reflect the influence of this timeless traditional style. Comprising hardware and lighting for every room, indoors and out, the Philadelphia Collection is ideal for anyone restoring, remodeling, or building a Federal-style home.
Surface-mounted rim locks were the standard way of fastening doors in Federal homes. The body of the lock was either brass or iron, the plain round knobs almost exclusively brass. Secured with an oversized skeleton key, they have an old -school charm that never fails to appeal. The collection includes items which would not have been found in early nineteenth century homes, but are useful today, such as door stops, kick plates, and even a deadbolt.
In most Federal-era interiors light fixtures made of wood, iron, and tin were the norm, with brass chandeliers and sconces a luxury found only in more expensive homes. Bell-jar lanterns were a popular choice for the front hall. The inverted glass dome protected flames from blowing out when the door was open, and a glass smoke bell prevented soot from reaching the ceiling. On the exterior, candle lanterns crafted from tin, copper, or iron supplied a bit of much-needed light to welcome guests.
Cabinet & Furniture Hardware
Cabinet hardware in most Federal-era homes was as understated as the architecture. On built-in cupboards one might find simple brass or wood knobs, strap hinges, and latches. Hardware for furniture was more decorative without being showy, such oval pulls with subtle classical detailing.
Double hung windows with multiple small panes were standard on Federal-era homes. Operated with rope & pully systems they required specialized sash locks and lifts, often made of brass. On the exterior functional shutters were de rigueur. Designed to close tightly across the windows, they protected the home when empty or against inclement weather. Exterior shutter hinges, bolts, tiebacks, and pulls were invariably made of iron, hand-forged by local blacksmiths.
While accessories such as doorbells, heat registers, and mailboxes may not have been original features of Federal-era homes, they certainly have their place today. The Philadelphia Collection includes a number of items in keeping with the style of the period - simple in form with hints of classical detailing – that will be useful throughout your home.