19th century door hardware mystery

jlc102482February 11, 2013

After removing my home's upstairs interior door hardware to remove the paint on them, I noticed a patent date of 1870 on the back of all the locks (Corbin rim locks). My house was built in 1857, yet the door hardware dates to at least 13 years after that. I don't think they're later additions, because the wood under the hardware is completely bare with no trace of paint or finish, and there are no holes or ghosts of different hardware. I searched every door, and I can't find one trace of previous hardware on either side. I thought it was really odd that someone would have changed all the hardware on all 6 doors such a short time after the house was built. I came up with three possible explanations:

1. The hardware was changed, but door hardware in the 1850s - 1870s was standardized and all exactly the same size with holes in exactly the same places;

2. The upstairs doors weren't added until a while after the house was built (unlikely, since they're consistent with 1850s door construction)

  1. The build date of my house is wrong (?)

I attached a link of what my hardware looks like. It's identical except for the patent date, which is January 1870.

Anyone have any ideas?

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The link:

Here is a link that might be useful: My door hardware

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Maybe all the doors were replaced, hardware and all?

Are you sure about the build date? There might have been an earlier house

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Maybe they ran short of money so didn't put hardware on for few years. People often spent money downstairs where "folks saw their house" Is the downstairs same hardware as upstairs? Maybe worried about kids "locking themselves or each other in rooms "!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Elraes Miller

Aren't products produced and sold while a patent is in process? I see many items with this info. If so, they still could have been available prior to 1870.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:35AM
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Well that's a puzzle.....
Build date wrong? I'd say probably, and at least more likely than a possible rogue date on the hardware. The patent office couldn't have been so busy in 1870 that the date would not be THAT DATE.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Patent Pending labels don't have a date. They aren't prescient.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:44AM
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I'm beginning to wonder if the upstairs of my house was simply not finished when the house was first built. It's odd, in any case. I guess at this point I'll just be thankful I still have all the old hardware intact and in good working order! After they get a fresh coat of black enamel and a little WD-40, they're going right back on the doors where I hope they'll stay for another 143 years. Thanks for the ideas!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:49AM
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