Unlacquered brass light fixtures

AprilM119January 16, 2014

I am renovating a 1921 craftsman home and have been researching light fixtures and door hardware. I see from most of the old catalogs that fixtures were often satin/brushed brass or lemon brass (which I am guessing means polished.)

I would like the light fixtures, door knob sets/hinges and switch plates to all have the same finish.

Does anyone know how long it might take for a patina to develop on unlaquered polished brass light fixtures? Obviously they won't be touched regularly, like a door knob might be. I can find styles of everything that I like in unlacquered polished brass. I'm just feeling a little hesitant about how bright that polished brass might be.

I would do brushed brass and can find great light fixtures and switch plates but can't seem to find a good door set in brushed/satin brass. I am thinking of something like this:

What if I did the light fixtures and switch plates in brushed brass and door hardware in polished brass? Would that look bad? I've seen polished and brushed nickel mixed in a bathroom and don't care for it.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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And there are metal refinishing shops that can create almost any finish you are looking for.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 2:58PM
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If it doesn't look bad to you, it's fine. Metal finishes are reversible.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:25PM
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I think you're over-thinking the whole thing. While brass will age at different rates, that's part of the charm of an old house. My doorknobs age differently than my hinges just because they are touched more often. I never even thought it was an "issue" until your post. It's the original hardware and has aged as such (although I have polished the doorknobs a bit through the years.)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:09PM
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IMO lemon brass is a very yellow-color alloy, to distinguish from ones with a redder tone (more copper vs. zinc) . IOW it would then have nothing to do with the finish/polish.
Unlacquered brass will oxidize steadily, but depending on atmospheric conditions it will take from 1-10 years to turn completely brown.
My 1884 exterior door plate and knobs dulled brown in a year, but for the inner ones it took three; One seldom-handled bedroom knob is still very bright after 5 years. All of these I polished myself with jewelers rouge on a polishing wheel.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:43AM
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This place has a ton of different brass finishes.

This one also has "antique brass" as a finish option.

I personally wouldn't worry too much about matching light fixtures and door knobs exactly if you do them all in unlacquered brass.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 6:42PM
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