SP_05_Belmont_7NonKey_Belmont_US3.jpgR.J. Haney Heritage Village General Manager Susan Mackie handed me a catalogue of door hardware recently. Her instructions were to pick out the door handles for the Montebello building ASAP. Why? If the project was to be completed to lock up, doors for the project needed to be constructed soon, so the knobs had to be chosen right away. The manufacturer, Dale Widdifield at Windowland, planned to cut the holes for the knobs and locks in his workshop, before the doors were installed. He needed to know what kind of locks we planned to use to get the placements right.

I was soon acquainted with the elements of a door knob. I had to choose a rosette, a knob – either keyed or non-keyed, a dead bolt, and a finish. It was going to be a complicated order.  There were nine exterior doors on the main floor of the building, three washrooms, and lots of interior doorknobs. The Montebello project was to look like buildings that were constructed at different times, so the door knobs had to look like they had been bought at different times.

I consulted my 1908 reproduction American Sears Catalogue. The Canadian Eaton’s reproduction catalogue was an earlier production - 1901.

Unfortunately all the Sears catalogues were reproduced missing pages 472-5. The lock section wasn’t there. Quality control wasn’t either.

The next thing I did was take photos of the knobs on Haney’s heritage buildings. They were good examples: Haney House, Pidhirney House, Laitinen House. It was obvious some were replacements knobs.

The modern catalogue of knobs Susan gave me had a mixture of modern and reproduction Victorian and Arts and Crafts designs. I picked out my favourites. Victorian knobs were too old for buildings at Haney Heritage Village. I needed the Montebello to represent a collection of buildings that were Edwardian – sometime after the death of Queen Victoria.  Brass_Knob_Lancaster_Regular_US10B.jpg

I called on Cuyler Page, the heritage consultant we had take President Norma Harisch’s drawings of a multi- purpose museum building into a concept plan. Consulting our archival photographs and my list of buildings essential to an historic commercial development, Cuyler had created drawings that we could present to our architect, Bernd Hermanski. Cuyler, a skilled draftsman, made sure the concept was influenced by the right era

Cuyler knew exactly what to look for. He said door knobs were like an initial handshake with the visitor.

Wow. What a thought! The first impression.

Cuyler said we needed at least three different types of knobs. They had to be a mixture of finishes. For security’s sake, we could use deadbolts, but they had to be mounted below the doorknobs so they wouldn’t be as visible. Cuyler went on to say that he had done a door knob display when he was the Curator at the Kamloops Museum. He called door knobs jewelry for buildings.

Brass_Knob_Rope_Rope_US10B.jpgI loved the idea. Picking out jewelry! Unfortunately, I found out I couldn’t throw in any bling, like glass door knobs. They were strictly residential knobs, Cuyler told me.

Cuyler agreed to meet in Vernon at a coffee shop. We went through the catalogue, made a list of the   businesses and started to choose knob styles. An hour and a half later we had talked about the stores, their exterior finishes, and the need for crash door closures.

Thanks to Cuyler’s subsequent fine tuning over the weekend, a presentable door knob schedule was delivered electronically to the General Contractor.

One more task done.

 Footnote: Images courtesy Emtek