Form & Function Of Architectural Features: The Artistry Of Vintage Door Knobs

Details Of Past Elegance:  The Vintage Door Knob
Details Of Past Elegance: The Vintage Door Knob

An element of form and function. The artistry of the vintage doorknob. Forms of art. Artistic forms of grandeur from a time period in which details mattered, elegance was revered and craftsmanship ruled. The individual beauty of the vintage door knob is striking and stunning. Representations of a time gone by yet reminders of the beauty that society once required within the realm of the structures that surrounded…

Lavished Design:  The Architectural Door Knob
Lavished Design: The Architectural Door Knob

History holds that although door handles appeared during Egyptian times, until the Middle Ages the basic form of doorways were created with textiles and furs. After the late 1500’s architecture offered separate rooms in which the addition of a door featuring leather or hand forged latches evolved. Interesting. In America, in the mid-ninetenth century (from 1830 to 1873), the production and manufacture of door knobs would evolve further into an enduring architectural element of form and function. Initially, plain wooden knobs were the first simple forms of door knobs of Colonial times followed by pressed glass and cut glass door knobs (popular from 1826-1850). Of note, prior to 1876 ceramic and porcelain knobs were imported from France and England. Of course, a nod to the beautiful swirls that knobs of Rosewood held. Striking appeal, indeed. Around 1846 the formation of cast metal knobs arrived to embellish structures. Made of iron or steel, these forms of function were covered either entirely or coated with a veneer of bronze or brass. But oh, the stylized decoration of these knobs of purpose that would thrive! It is said that after the Centennial Exposition of 1876 (the first official World’s Fair in the United State), the world of decorative door hardware was launched nationwide. Yes, the embellishments of lavish detail that beckoned the desire of the Victorian Era would prevail…

Centennial Exhibition 1876/United States
Centennial Exhibition 1876/United States

In the late 1800’s these composite metal knobs formed with a compression casting method offered the ability to design and provide ornamentation of the hardware. Of historical interest, during World War II, brass door knobs were removed and melted down for the war effort. Imagine! Alas, those that remain offer a rare desirability by those that covet and appreciate them. A link and emblem to the decorative arts of the past that is no longer abundant but rare architectural “jewels” of the past. Yet it is the cast bronze and brass door knobs with ornamental patterns that the Victorians graced their residences and structures that continue to amaze and delight me. Of course, I hold an appreciation of all of the beautiful forms of materials & construction of these architectural features. And of the knobs of form and function? Whether spherical or ball-shaped or the ease of an egg-shape design or the knobs fashioned like a drum, the designs have certainly changed throughout the decades that would follow. Coordinating with the eras they would be fixed within. Fixed to surface mounted locks or doors for entry, the door knob would continue to experience a renaissance resembling the prevailing styles of the eras. Of course, a nod to the decorative door handle plates that would surround the knobs (Escutcheons) which were often rectangular and were also embellished with decorative designs, such as floral patterns or geometric shapes. Beauty of form and function and visual interest in design, indeed. Shape and surface appeal. Craftsmanship and intricate design paired in the creation of art.

The function and form of vintage door knobs deserve our attention and appreciation, for certain. An object of history. As elements of the past, a mere appreciation of the art form that they represent…

Architectural Salvage:  The Enduring Appeal Of The Vintage Door Knob
Architectural Salvage: The Enduring Appeal Of The Vintage Door Knob
Aesthetics Of Form & Function:  The Architectural Door Knob
Aesthetics Of Form & Function: The Architectural Door Knob
Elements Of Distinction:  The Vintage Door Knob
Elements Of Distinction: The Vintage Door Knob
Architectural Delights:  The Elegance Of The Vintage Door Knob
Architectural Delights: The Elegance Of The Vintage Door Knob
Unique Beauty Of Surface Appeal:  Vintage Door Knobs
Unique Beauty Of Surface Appeal: Vintage Door Knobs
Brass Appeal:  Vintage Door Knobs Of Architectural Delight
Brass Appeal: Vintage Door Knobs Of Architectural Delight
Details Of Elegance: The Vintage Door Knob
Details Of Elegance: The Vintage Door Knob
Vintage Elegance Of Artistic Form & Function:  Door Knobs
Vintage Elegance Of Artistic Form & Function: Door Knobs
Designed Artistry Of Vintage Form:  Door Knobs
Designed Artistry Of Vintage Form: Door Knobs
Basics Of Form:  Appreciation Of The Door Knob
Basics Of Form: Appreciation Of The Door Knob
Form & Function:   The Vintage Door Knob
Form & Function: The Vintage Door Knob
Painted Appeal & The Vintage Door Knob
Painted Appeal & The Vintage Door Knob
White Porcelain Delights:  The Vintage Door Knob
White Porcelain Delights: The Vintage Door Knob
Vintage Glass Door Knobs Of Starburst Appeal
Vintage Glass Door Knobs Of Starburst Appeal
Pressed Molten Glass Of Clear Delight: The Vintage Door Knob
Pressed Molten Glass Of Clear Delight: The Vintage Door Knob
Clear Elegance:  The Glass Vintage Door Knob
Clear Elegance: The Glass Vintage Door Knob
Multifaceted Style In Clear Glass:  The Vintage Door Knob
Multifaceted Style In Clear Glass: The Vintage Door Knob
Rounded Delights:  The Vintage Door Knob
Rounded Delights: The Vintage Door Knob

Although the materials, form and designs vary, consider with appreciation the beauty and design of the vintage door knobs and the historical connection to the past they offer. For me? What is it about the knobs of yesteryear that beckon? Like “jewels” on doors, to stumble across one is exhilarating to me and certain to be captured by whatever means of photography that is on me at that moment. Alas, the camera phone. Included within these compilations are many that I have captured from within the vintage homes of the late 1800’s town of Woodstock, Illinois that I currently reside within, as well as during my travels. Many more await to be captured from behind my lens. Doors that hold an opportunity to find appreciation in the details of life that are before us. A past that carries with it into the present. History and the artistry and elegance of the past that endures to remain as a symbol of bygone eras. Appreciation, always…

Onward,

Kristin


“Find pleasure in the beauty of details”
– Hans Zirngast

PS: There are bound to be more images added to this compilation…for I will never stop capturing the distinctive beauty that surrounds on doorways of the past…

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Forms Of Antiquity: The Architectural “Caryatid” & The Female Form

Ancient Architectural Form & Function:   Caryatids
Ancient Architectural Form & Function: Caryatids

Art and architecture. A Caryatid in architecture is described as “A stone carving of a draped female figure, used as a pillar to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building”. Taking the place of a column or pillar, the Greek term Karyatides is literally said to mean “Maidens of Karyai”, an ancient town of Peloponnese in which a temple was dedicated to a goddess known as Artemis. Mythology paired with architecture, indeed.


“As Karyatis, she rejoiced in the dances of the nut-tree village of Karyai, those Karyatides, who in their ecstatic round-dance carried on their heads baskets of live reeds, as if they were dancing plants”
-Unknown

Caryatids In Ancient Architecture
Caryatids In Ancient Architecture

Since ancient times buildings have been designed with female figures as supporting columns. Sculpture fitted to a structure. Some of the earliest known examples date from around the 6th century BC in Greece at the treasuries of Delphi. The use of these draped female figures used as architectural supports can certainly be traced back to Greek antiquity. Alas, the bulky yet intricately arranged hairstyles served the crucial purpose of providing key structural support to their necks, which would otherwise be the structurally weakest part of the figure. Of note, a Caryatid supporting a basket on her head is called a canephora (“basket-bearer”). Form and function, indeed…

Ancient Form:  The Caryatid Of The  Erechtheion
Ancient Form: The Caryatid Of The Erechtheion

The most iconic and perhaps most-copied Caryatid examples are the carved six figures of the Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion (409 BC) referred to as ‘The Venerable Temple’ on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. Of note, the originals have been replaced onsite by replicas, but the original ancient forms of stately pose are on exhibit within the Acropolis Museum with one removed during the early 19th century, residing in England’s British Museum in London. Ancient history preserved. Of additional interest, these six Caryatids are not identical. Rather, although they are the same in build and height and similar in attire and coiffed hair, their faces, stance, the draping of fabric and hair are said to have been carved separately. Interesting. In addition, three of the caryatids stand on their right foot and the other three stand on their left foot. Architectural differences of distinction. Of course, the Romans would copy these Erechtheion caryatids, installing their own copies in the Forum of Augustus and in the Pantheon in Rome, among other great structures. Great architecture will always be revered.

These draped figures of stone, often supporting acanthus baskets, visually hold the weight of architecture above them and enduringly offer a tribute to the female form and the link to the ancient past. Perhaps one can view these figures a symbol of strength and beauty. For certain, the implications of these figures and their representations in ancient times can take on a deeper role. Perhaps the search for meaning of sculpture and architecture as a united force of art can offer many interpretations. These load-bearing forms of the structures are an art form that will endure to inspire. For the purpose of appreciation of the beauty of the architecture and the form itself of these female figures, a mere collection of images, sourced from the world wide web, will hopefully bring further appreciation to the timeless form of architectural beauty….

Architectural Supports Of Ancient Distinction: Caryatids
Architectural Supports Of Ancient Distinction: Caryatids
Draped Figures Of Ancient Appeal:  Caryatid
Draped Figures Of Ancient Appeal: Caryatid
Architectural Form & Function Of The Female Form
Architectural Form & Function Of The Female Form
Caryatids:  Elements Of History & Form
Caryatids: Elements Of History & Form
Form & Function Of Ancient Architectural Beauty:  Caryatids
Form & Function Of Ancient Architectural Beauty: Caryatids
Architectural Supports Of Distinction:  Caryatids
Architectural Supports Of Distinction: Caryatids
Art & Architecture:  Caryatids
Art & Architecture: Caryatids
Caryatids:  The Female Form Of Enduring Appeal
Caryatids: The Female Form Of Enduring Appeal
Architectural Interpretations Of Ancient Form:  Caryatids
Architectural Interpretations Of Ancient Form: Caryatids
Emblems Of Beauty & Strength:  Caryatids In Architecture
Emblems Of Beauty & Strength: Caryatids In Architecture
Caryatids In Architecture:  Form & Function
Caryatids In Architecture: Form & Function
Architectural Delights:  Caryatids Within Architecture
Architectural Delights: Caryatids Within Architecture
Female Form:  Representations Of Caryatids In The Garden
Female Form: Representations Of Caryatids In The Garden
Ancient Forms Enduring In Architectural Appeal:  Caryatids
Ancient Forms Enduring In Architectural Appeal: Caryatids
Caryatids Of Diverse Form & Function
Caryatids Of Diverse Form & Function
Caryatids/Macy's/New York/ 34th Street
Caryatids/Macy’s/New York/ 34th Street

And of the statuesque figures of female form that are found within the interior? Certain resemblances and links to ancient past, for certain. Appreciation of the artistic representation of historic significance, indeed.

In Early Modern times, the practice of integrating caryatids into building facades was revived. The world of Art Deco architecture would certainly embrace the forms of antiquity. Within interiors these forms of sculpture would begin to be included as new features of building structures and within the world of interior decoration. For certain, the beauty of the female figure in architecture holds enduring allure to the world that surrounds which continually changes and evolves. Appreciation…

Female Caryatid Representations: Statues Within The Interior
Female Caryatid Representations: Statues Within The Interior

My appreciation of the beauty of the architectural details of the beautiful form of antiquity is not new. Carved and sculpted details of architectural wonder. Yet of my renewed and focussed appreciation, perhaps the urge to visually share came by way of an unexpected surprise. And it all started with a statue…

Female Form Of Greek Mythology:  Aphrodite
Female Form Of Greek Mythology: Aphrodite

On a whim I stopped into a local antique store when I suddenly spotted her. It was immediate that I was drawn to the ancient emblem of antiquity and classic form. Found amidst other elements of the past, I simply had to acquire. An alabaster figure that now graces my dresser and stands boldly and beautifully among my personal accessories of fashion and fragrances that layer. Perhaps as a reminder of the beauty of the past and an appreciation of the enduring appeal of the figure of the woman

Representation Of Ancient Appeal:  A Caryatid Within My Interior...
Representation Of Ancient Appeal: A Caryatid Within My Interior…

Within the history of fashion and the arts, the iconic architectural sculptures of antiquity have certainly been an inspiration of timeless appeal…

Caryatids & Modern Dance Icon Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)
Caryatids & Modern Dance Icon Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)
Christian Dior Models & Caryatids: Fashion's Form & Function
Christian Dior/1951 Models & Caryatids: Fashion’s Form & Function
Fashionable Representations Of The Caryatid Form
Fashionable Representations Of The Caryatid Form

Consider with appreciation the forms of antiquity that grace the structures that fill our world. Look closer and appreciate the ancient past that carries with it an enduring visual acknowledgement of form and function. Whether carved in the round or in relief or frieze or crowning a pediment with grace, there is beauty to be found within the past world that carries with it into our future an enduring emblem of the past

Onward,

Kristin

“Now here we have another emotional symbol… for almost three thousand years or longer, architects have designed buildings with columns shaped as female figures… After all those centuries it took Rodin to see that this was work too heavy for a girl… Here is this poor little caryatid who has tried — and failed, fallen under the load…. She didn’t give up, Ben; she’s still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her…”
-Robert Heinlein (1907-1988)”Stranger in a Strange Land”

“…Like a caryatid on vacation. He was supporting nothing but his daydreams”
-Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Female Forms Of Caryatid Reprentation
Female Forms Of Caryatid Representation

New Orleans, French Quarter: A Visual Paradise Of Architectural Delights

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans. On a recent trip to one of the world’s most fascinating cities my camera beckoned me. “The Big Easy”. Described as a “unique melting pot of culture, food and music”, to experience this city from behind the lens of a camera is exhilarating. An excited frenzy of desire to capture the true essence of New Orleans and the architecture that adorns it. An attempt, for certain. History paired with structures of timeless appeal

New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans) is “a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana”. The city of New Orleans is named after the Duke of Orleans, who reigned as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723. Founded in 1718, New Orleans is also known as “NOLA”. The city was “established by French colonists and strongly influenced by their European culture”. This French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763). Perhaps it is no surprise that this great city became known for its distinctive French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its “cross-cultural and multilingual heritage”. New Orleans (Nueva Orleans) “remained under Spanish control until 1801, when it reverted briefly to French oversight”. Napoleon sold Louisiana (New France) to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Of interest, nearly all of the surviving 18th-century architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) is said to date from the Spanish period. New Orleans played a major role during the Antebellum era with evidences of neoclassical architectural style, characteristic of the Southern United States. All of the architecture that is layered within this port city beckoned my lens. Add to this that New Orleans is considered to be the birthplace of Jazz and you have a perfect combination in a city of intrigue, for certain. And oh, the celebrations New Orleans is known for! World famous festivals certainly continue to lure the world to these city streets. Having been to this magical city once before for Mardi Gras, the experiences I encountered on this trip marked a different appeal from behind my lens. Rather than colorful beads dripping from lamp posts and swags of the city’s colors of yellow, green and purple, the architecture and feel of the city stood on its own. Appreciation from behind my lens. Details that excite. Details that beckon.

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

The draw and pull to wander and walk the streets of New Orleans was strong. The French Quarter enticed my lens at each corner and from every angle. The culture of New Orleans permeates throughout the streets. Perhaps beyond the visuals that surround the sound of Creole jazz music, Dixieland, Ragtime, Jazz, Cajun and Zydeco music that drifts from the structures and fills the streets or is offered up by pop-up street performers, provides an emotional connection to the city that offers energy and life. And of the architecture? Creole cottages with high, steep front facing gables with wide front porches or simple stoops, brick chimneys and wooden storm shutters offer distinctive appeal in watercolor hues or bold visions of colorful appeal. Of course, the Creole townhouses that line the streets of the French Quarter offer unique NOLA appeal. These two and three tiered brick buildings present strikingly detailed wrought iron skirted balconies. The hidden walled courtyards from within these structures beckon a closer look when stumbling upon. A mysterious appeal prominent in the Quarter, indeed. Add to the architectural appeal the double shotgun framed row houses that abut to the sidewalk, with painted details that delight, and you will have visually sampled some of the classic local architectural style of the French Quarter. Other significant details that truly represent New Orleans are the gas lights that fill the city streets and grace the structures of history. Of course, a nod to the fleur de lys which has been a symbol of New Orleans since they were emblazoned upon the French explorer flag when Nouvelle Orleans was founded. An enduring emblem of New Orleans, for certain. One cannot help but take note of the decorative oval wrought iron air vents that decorate the lower part of the cottages. Although the structures themselves are not pristine they often offer an element of preserved decay. But beauty remains. And it is enchanting.

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

To set ones eyes upon Jackson Square, in the heart of the French Quarter, brings attention upward in appreciation of the towering Spires of the St. Louis Cathedral. Stunning. History is seeped within New Orleans. An intoxicating city that endures to beckon….

New Orleans/House Appeal 2015

To discover the essence of New Orleans, one may only need to walk the streets of the French Quarter. With eyes wide open. Streets filled with color, life and energy. Surrounded by architectural wonders in a city entrenched in history. The photographs presented are a mere compilation of visual delights and details of this jeweled city that await. Consider with mere appreciation this visual paradise of delights of the City of New Orleans. And of my place from behind the lens? I will never tire of focussing upon its timeless beauty. A visual paradise, indeed…

Onward,

Kristin

My Feet Upon The Streets Of New Orleans...2015
My Feet Upon The Streets Of New Orleans…2015

Vintage Interior Appeal: The Classic Warmth Of The Architectural “Radiator”

Architectural Details Of Function Within The Interior:  The Radiator
Architectural Details Of Function Within The Interior: The Radiator

The vintage radiator. Distinctive architectural representations of the past. The appeal and charm of the vintage radiator endures to provide interest and architectural details within an interior. Ornate or simple, the appreciation of the “mighty” radiator is a worthwhile focus…

The radiator is not an element of function to be hidden or disguised from view. Rather, I believe is an iconic element of form and function. The radiator clearly denotes history of a structure. Timeless. Craftsmanship in details of an object of function. Heat. Beyond the benefit of quickly drying snow laden gloves and scarves or humidifying the dry air of Winter within the interior with pans of water resting on top, the architectural statement of the radiator is certainly an asset to our visual spaces. Whether layers of old paint coat their vintage surfaces or layered with a gilded sheen and luster, the appeal of the radiator goes far beyond the warmth that it generates.

Radiators are termed as “Heat exchangers used to transfer thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of cooling and heating”. Of note, the adjustable valves of these steam systems are at the far end of the radiators and allow pressure to build creating additional needed heat. Mechanicals of scientific wonder. Of additional interest, there are two types of radiators: Single-Pipe and Double-Pipe. The single-pipe radiators work with steam while the double-pipe radiators work with steam or hot water. Alas, it is the double-pipe radiator that is the most sought after type of vintage radiator. Sought after is the key. Adding architectural charm paired with function, for certain.

And of the radiator in the interior? Alas, a source of heat to the environment it dwells within. The vintage cast iron radiators that iconically stand within vintage structures were installed for the intent and purpose of generating heat and favored for their ability to gently and evenly heat a room. Of course, credit the craftsmen of the Victorian era (who supported that seeming mantra that everything can be beautiful), scrollwork and floral motifs would be embossed to the cast iron forms. The era when utilitarian fixtures featured not only craftsmanship but great design. High style design of fine craftsmanship. Details. Life is all in the details. Alas, why shouldn’t even the basic parts of life be beautiful?

My appreciation of these glorious elements of the past began years ago within my first studio apartment in the city of Chicago. Beyond the crackling sounds from the heat traveling through its pipes, the vintage form lured me. The radiator that provided me warmth represented history. The 1910 studio I dwelled within was provided with comfort and sounds that so many before me had experienced. Perhaps, beyond warming our interiors, radiators warm our hearts with their appealing design and historical presence. Out of season, radiators enduringly hold a purpose of architectural interest.

Vintage Details Of Form & Function:  The Radiator
Vintage Details Of Form & Function: The Radiator
Vintage Architectural Embellishments Of Form & Function:  The Grand Radiator
Vintage Architectural Embellishments Of Form & Function: The Grand Radiator
High-Design & Craftsmanship Of Details:  The Vintage  Radiator
High-Design & Craftsmanship Of Details: The Vintage Radiator
Shapes Of Visual Interest & Warmth:  The Radiator
Shapes Of Visual Interest & Warmth: The Radiator
The Appeal Of History & Design:  The Radiator
The Appeal Of History & Design: The Radiator
Ornate Style With Warmth:  The Vintage Radiator
Ornate Style With Warmth: The Vintage Radiator
Warmth Of Historical Charm:  The Vintage Radiator
Warmth Of Historical Charm: The Vintage Radiator
Architectural Jewels Of Decorative Delight:  Vintage Radiators
Architectural Jewels Of Decorative Delight: Vintage Radiators

Whether painted in gilded gold or coated with layer upon layer of standard white paint applied over the years, embrace these architectural features of seasonal function that offer year-round appeal. A conversation piece? Perhaps. A bold statement of history in form and function. For those fortunate enough to have this element of history deliver you much needed warmth, look closer at the cast iron emblem of the past that dwells with purpose within your interiors. With renewed appreciation. Classic warmth. Vintage appeal with function, indeed…

Kristin