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I have a very dirty doorknob, how do I clean it?
I would rather under clean than over clean. Surface damage due to improper cleaning methods is inexcusable; the damaged knob is then of no use to a collector. Acid cleaners and coarse wheels or wire brushing are for use on tools, not fine builder’s hardware. Remember, hardware need not be cleaned ot be marketed: a good piece is a good piece in any form – unless it has been damaged by improper cleaning. A good grade of metal polish such as Simichrome and the finest of steel wool are useful. (Source: Antique Builders’ Hardware Knobs & Accessories by Maud L. Eastwood)

How can I remove the paint from my knobs?
Paint removal on glass, bronze, brass and pottery knobs is easily accomplished with Amway’s INDUSTROCLEAN. (Source: Antique Builders’ Hardware Knobs & Accessories by Maud L. Eastwood)

I am new to doorknob collecting. What is the best way to improve my collection?
Come to a Convention! There you will find a large quantity of quality hardware, available for trading but also for sale, not to mention the ADCA Auction. Members are more than willing to give advice to newcomers as to the relative value of different pieces. Other good sources (if you are “on line”), are internet auction sites such as “EBAY”. Of course the greatest satisfaction comes from finding a piece at a swap meet or garage sale, but that can involve a greater expenditure of time and gas. (Source: The ADCA Handbook)

How do I know if I have a real Bennington knob?
To be a Bennington, the knob body must be cream colored. Verified specimens of Bennington knobs, infrequently found on the open marker, are glazed through two distinctive processes: a Rocking ham glaze or Flint Enamel glaze. The Rockingham glaze is characterized by a mottled appearance, cause by the application of a glaze with manganese content. This glaze may be applied by several methods: by spattering, dripping, sponging or brushing in an uneven manner, allowing th cream colored body to remain exposed to a greater or lesser degree.
The Flint Enamel was perfected by Christopher Fenton in 1849. This glaze is characterized by a rich appearance of mingling colors produced by sprinkling metallic salts on the knob body, over a transparent under-glaze. (Source: Antique Builders’ Hardware Knobs & Accessories by Maud L. Eastwood)

Then what is a mineral knob?
These are knobs composed of clay of different colors. These are glazed with a simple Alband slip that enhances the color and seals the rough body texture caused by th drying clays after they are folded, cut and molded to shape. (Source: Antique Builders’ Hardware Knobs & Accessories by Maud L. Eastwood)

There seems to be an endless selection of knobs. What are the best doorknobs to collect?
Above all, buy what you like. At the beginning you might be tempted to acquire any doorknob that is unusual, or a pattern that you don’t have. You will soon realize that it is an endless pursuit, as there are many thousands of different knobs. Try to discover what style or type of knobs appeal to you most. Maybe it’s glass knobs, or wood, or old bronze, painted porcelain, or hardware by a specific manufacturer. You will probably continue to acquire good examples of all types of knob hardware, but you will get the most pleasure of specializing in the one class of knob that appeals to your esthetic senses. Buy what you like, and always look for the highest quality. . (Source: The ADCA Handbook)

What about other hardware, such as back plates, doorbells and such?
Ornate designs were applied to almost all builders’ hardware in the period 1870-1920. By all means collect related pieces if the pattern appeals to you, particularly if they are by a “major” manufacturer and if they are compatible with pieces you already own. Some of the finest displays show a selection of various pieces featuring a common design theme. . (Source: The ADCA Handbook)

I’m new to ADCA. How can I become more involved?
By far the best method is to go to a convention. ADCA members are a friendly lot, and you will be quickly drawn into activities. There are many odd jobs that need doing during the convention, for which the hosts will be most grateful. Listen at presentations and meetings, and don’t be shy about asking questions or volunteering your thoughts. Those who step forward will soon find an appropriate role, and may be asked to serve on the Board of Directors. . (Source: The ADCA Handbook)

Speaking of the “Board”, I know someone who would be perfect. What should I do?
Speak to someone on the Nominating Committee. They are always looking for good candidates for the ADCA Board, especially people who want to be more involved. . (Source: The ADCA Handbook)

If you need more answers, please contact Allen Joslyn at

The knob above is Russell & Erwin; 1879