I once lived in a pretty run-down bungalow-style house that happened to have all of its original door knobs. Against a backdrop of cheap rental-property paint, my glass doorknobs stood out like jewels. Visitors never seemed to notice the grimy linoleum, the nineteen-seventies remodel attempt, or the cranky plumbing. Men and women alike complimented me on my cute little house. I like to think the light refracting through my beautiful glass door knobs blinded them.
Glass door knobs have been around since the early 1800s in pressed form, and maintained popularity from the late 1800s through the early 1900s in cut form. Brass, bronze and other metals with ornate designs then became the more popular choice until World War II. With the war, the scarcity of metals turned the trend back towards glass door knobs. Most of the original antique glass doorknobs today come from the post-World War II building boom.
I always wanted glass door knobs again, but I figured I would have to find them in another house that just happened to have all of its original fixtures. Then I found out that glass door knobs have experienced resurgence in popularity. Original antique, antique reproduction and modern glass doorknobs are all available for a reasonable price.
Regardless of your budget or style, there is now a glass doorknob for you. Choices range from the octagonal antique that most of us have seen, to new marble-like orbs of color that fit in the most minimalist environment. You do have to shop around. Some places carry only original antiques and will probably only have a few of any style knob. Other companies specialize in antique reproductions and are your best bet if you want to make your whole house match. The modern and eclectic glass door knobs are scattered throughout the different sources. What you want is probably out there somewhere.
The price of an original antique glass doorknob starts at about twenty to thirty dollars, but you can spend much more. The same goes for the clear reproductions. The new colored glass doorknobs that look like gemstones are around ninety dollars and up. However, don’t give up on fabulous finds at flea markets, garage sales, and auctions, especially if you are looking for highlight pieces. I paid ten dollars for a cardboard box of antique knobs. Out of that box, I was able to cobble together three sets that worked. The rest of the knobs I used to decorate throughout my home.
Keep in mind that glass door knobs are fragile, so they are not for every location. If you have active children, consider keeping the glass door knobs in your bedroom or similar out-of-the-way location. You should also consider keeping them out of high traffic areas in general. In addition, definitely don’t use glass on outside doorknobs, the changes in temperature makes the glass more apt to fracture.
But DO use glass door knobs on doors that get a lot of light. And definitely use glass doorknobs wherever you want a little extra style and sparkle!