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The Antique Doorknob Collectors of America is a non-profit organization devoted to the study and preservation of ornamental hardware. Established in 1981, the goal of the group is to collect, protect, and research antique builder’s hardware, focusing on decorative designs, production methods, and period manufacturers. A long-term vision for the ADCA is the establishment of a public museum dedicated to the field of ornamental builder’s hardware.
In addition to publishing an illustrated bi-monthly newsletter, the ADCA maintains an extensive archive of original manufacturers’ catalogues and related materials. Able to inform and educate with displays and lectures through schools, civic organizations, or local libraries, ADCA members and resources are also available to preservation groups and restorers of historic properties for consultation and guidance.

The ADCA has created a Virtual Museum following the classification system developed by Len Blumin in his book Victorian Decorative Art. This website, http://www.antiquedoorknobs.us/ , is open to the public at no charge, and groups photos onto pages based on the knob pattern/design. Close to 2,500 different doorknobs are documented, with that number increasing on a monthly basis. Your support or membership in the ADCA makes this educational site possible.

The knobs above are both Russell & Erwin; 1879


The Antique Doorknob was published in 1976. The decades of 1950-1970 witnessed the often sad phenomenon known as urban renewal. Aging Victorian houses were destroyed to make way for modern city dwellings. With luck salvage minded opportunists arrived before the wrecker’s ball and bulldozer. Ornate hardware plucked from the ruins made its way to the hands and hearts of collectors, one of whom was a shy and reserved beauty operator from Tillamook named Maud Eastwood. Not satisfied with merely owning a collection of salvaged doorknobs, Maud was driven by a need to learn. A true scholar emerged, and the hobby of doorknob collecting would never be the same.

Maud traveled, scoured libraries and patent documents, talked with collectors, historians, artisans– anyone who might provide knowledge about the whys and wherefores of doorknob history. We are truly thankful that Maud then made an even greater commitment, embarking to share the fruits of her research with others. The result was a book, The Antique Doorknob or “TAD” for short – a remarkable achievement. National publications such as The Old House Journal mentioned TAD with praise, and suddenly Maud was contacted from near and far by kindred souls who had succumbed to the strange compulsion to collect old hardware.

1977 saw the publication of a newsletter, The Antique Doorknob. It wasn’t long before the knobbers clamored to form an organization, and small groups of collectors began to meet. By 1981 things were heating up. Arnie Fredrick brought the pot to a boil with an offer to host a meeting of doorknob collectors from around the country. The first “convention” was held in Waverly Iowa in September, 1981, and those attending agreed to the formation of The Antique Doorknob Collectors of America, or ADCA. Bylaws were drafted, the club formally “incorporated” and ADCA was granted official status as a non-profit entity.

By the end of 1981 43 members had joined, growing to 100 in 1985 and to 200 active members in 1990. By year 2000 over 500 people had joined ADCA, with over 250 remaining as active dues-paying members.

For simplicity sake this account largely omits the names of those who played key roles in the early years of the club’s formation, but it took the dedicated efforts of many individuals to achieve success.