A Brief History of Cabinet Hardware
May 1, 2017

A Brief History of Cabinet Hardware

Architectural Hardware plays a much bigger role in our daily lives than you may have imagined. Hardware as we know it today started to take off during the industrial revolution, but it has been giving our furniture more than just functionality for centuries. For over 300 years, hardware has been applied to furniture. Each era can be identified by its own unique style, all of which serve as a statement piece recognized by historians.

There are three important periods in the history of architectural hardware. The first one is the Victorian era, which ranged from the 1860s to the 1910s. This period is deemed the golden period of architectural hardware. Since factories were finally able to mass produce cabinet handles and knobs, they became more accessible and the price became more affordable. However, this mass production created competition on a grander scale, and because of the newly competitive market, design played an important role. Designers developed new forms and styles, transforming handles and knobs into very detailed and decorative furniture accessories.


Antique Reproduction Doorknobs and Door Levers from the Victorian, Gothic, Art Deco and Arts and Crafts time periods

Victorian era pulls


The next major period was the Modern Age, which lasted two decades around a pivotal point in modern history. Taking place between the 1930’s and 1950’s, the Modern Age was influenced by World War II, which marked a significant distinction in the form and function of hardware. This era brought a simpler, more linear functional design. With little focus on aesthetics, the intricacies of the designs of yesteryear were left behind. The modern age would not last, as soon after the war, architects and designers were inspired to bring back the inspired designs of the Victorian era and modernize them with a contemporary twist.

Doug Mockett & Co - Modern Era Pulls

Modern era pulls


Next up is the modern day Contemporary period, which is a culmination of previous eras that allows us to embrace options as part of the design aesthetic. There are plenty of combinations that will give any furniture the feel and look you desire. Designers are now much more interested in how textures influence us. Interiors are classified by mood, broken down into categories that express the feeling of each room. Consequently, hardware is selected based on the feeling the designer is trying to convey or reinforce. For a more contemporary, clinical feel, designers generally favor solid and clean line hardware. For a warmer feel, like the ones used in classic country kitchens, rough textures and reminiscent of the Victorian period are used. A more tactile understanding of how hardware functions allows us to incorporate different design influences to suit specific applications.

Doug Mockett & Co - Contemporary Pulls

Contemporary pulls


We are fortunate to live in such an exciting time - for today we are living in a period where our architectural hardware has the ability to tell stories through its textures and details giving more meaning to our furniture.

Source links:
Victorian Era Pulls - http://antiquehardware.reproductionofantiquehardware.com/
Modern Era Pulls - https://www.mockett.com/drawer-pulls-knobs-door-handles/stainless-steel/
Contemporary Pulls - https://www.mockett.com/drawer-pulls-knobs-door-handles/

Related Topics: Selecting the Right Hardware, Mixing Metals, Hardware Textures, Kitchen Power Outlets