I devote a great deal of time studying door knockers. I find them fascinating historically as well as artistically.
Over time many common designs have evolved. Some designs have turned out to be more popular than others. The urn style is among these. The ornaments and patterns have changed but the basic shape has remained.
It has always interested me as to what made the classic urn style so well liked. The look does sort of resemble an ancient urn but in reality it does not really look much like one. In contemporary times people have little relation the urn with the exception of a burial container following cremation. What then makes the urn shape so popular for a door knocker?
There are varying versions of the ascendance of the design. It is said that the classic urn shape has its origins in the Grecian or Victorian times. Different manufacturers describe them as Grecian Urns or Victorian Urns. Each appears to have some merit. It is possible that the relationship to eras revolves around the designs used as each period features its own distinctive style of ornamentation.
Some are embellished with flower patterns while others have leaves and feathers. Among my personal favorites being an engraver is the old standard swirling vine pattern that generally seems to fit the urn door knocker form well. I have even come across them adorned with cherubs and angels. The classic urn design has many areas that are conducive to ornamentation. Of course one of the most popular is the plain polished finish with no ornamentation at all.
Most urn designs are perfectly suited for engraving. The common shape offers an excellent engraving area centering the hinge location of the clapper. This area is usually a pleasant rectangular shape that will hold a name or address nicely. Many manufacturers also design an engraving area onto the clapper. This shape can be a square or an oval depending on the manufacturer. The clapper area usually looks good whether it is engraved or not.
The urn door knocker is versatile and looks good on most modern day homes. It possesses a universal appeal that seems to fit in nicely with most architecture. It is available in many sizes varying from a small 4" height or less to very large 12" high. The size selection would be determined by the doorway that the door knocker is to be mounted on and the budget allowed.
Some urn door knockers incorporate eye viewers as these fit in this design well. The eye viewer may be situated at the approximate center of the door knocker or it might be located at the top. When at the top the eye viewer usually replaces the upper installation hardware. The addition of the eye viewer provides the additional safety factor of being able to see who is at your door.
Urn door knockers can be found that are mounted to the door by one of two methods. One method uses screws that pass through the knocker and screw into the door. The other method uses bolts or other hardware that goes entirely through the door. Either method works well on wooden doors but the through the door method works best on other doors.
It seems that I have answered my own question. The urn door knocker is popular for many good reasons the least of which is that they really look great on the entrance way to a home.
Bill Shayler is a professional engraver and owner of Shayler Engraving and Your-Door-Knocker.com. Our company specializes in engraved solid brass door knockers for the home.
For more information or to contact Bill, please visit: http://www.your-door-knocker.com/ a web site owned and operated by Shayler Engraving.
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