The Evolution Of Door Handles

Door handles come in all shapes and styles, but have you ever actually stopped and wondered how an invention that most of us take for granted was designed?

For a device that’s used daily, there’s actually very little known about the history of door handles and how their design has evolved over the years.

Although door handles were officially patented in 1878 by an American inventor by the name of Osbourn Dorsey, it’s understood that various incarnations of handles and knobs have been used as far back early 17th century.

Since their conception, these invaluable tools have developed from crude wooden latches to brass knobs and cast iron levers to the typical PVCu and aluminium handles used today. Although their aesthetics have changed considerably over the years, their general lever based design is celebrated in its simplicity, and has been adopted as the standard all across the world.

In many places the door handle has long since neglected style in place of form and function, its simplistic design is perfectly suited to everyday use. However, it is amongst the buildings with more lavish and stylised architecture that the handle’s potential for artistic flare is more widely recognised. The more extravagant structures have used their door handles as creative features, making them a prominent addition to the décor rather than hiding them away with the generally standardised design.

Quality ironmongers Cast in Style have put together a glimpse into the ever-changing face of door handle design throughout the many years, and a look into what the future may hold.

Door LatchMade from malleable iron, these kinds of latches are similar to a style that was commonplace during the Tudor period.





Door HandleThis crafted handle, representing a lion, can be found at the Yochanan ben Zakai Synagogue, which was built in the early 17th century, in the Old City of Jerusalem.






Door Kocker

Door and gate handles such as this were used commonly before the introduction of modern locking mechanisms. This particular handle can be found on the door to St. Olave’s Church in Chester, which was first built in 1611.





​The high-quality brass Florentine handle reflects the hallmarks of the classic renaissance style popular during the early 17th century, with its prominent fleur-de-lys design.






Door Latch 2Found in Old Town Prague, a city that dates back as far as the 14th century, this handle is an interesting example of how modern latch locks have developed.






Door Handles These wonderfully crafted cherub door handles grant you access to the remarkable Theatre Circo in Portugal, which has housed many incredible events since its inauguration in 1915.

Door HandlesThese stylised brass lever handles showcases the door handles malleability and artistic potential.


Modern Door Handle

Whilst modern door handles may appear simplistic they are actually now able to house a variety of different locking mechanisms, whether it be swipe card, traditional lock and key or even latch.

This variety and adaptability is what makes the door handle one of the world’s most useful




But what does the future hold for door handle design?

The designers of this Red Dot Award winning concept think that handles will be elevated to whole new uses with the help of technology. ‘Off’ is a revolutionary idea from designers Eun Ah Kim, Jinhyuk Rho & Maria Rho; who believe that the door handles simplistic design can be can be used for so much more than just opening doors. From switching off the electricity to making sure the gas is off, this ingenious design provides complete peace of mind.

As you can clearly see, when it comes to designing a door handle, form and function can be perfectly entwined with beautiful design. If you have any weird and wonderful door handles to show off, let us know in the comments section below.

This article was written on behalf of Cast in Style, specialists in providing cast iron home and garden furniture.

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