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Front door knob question

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Hi,

I'm talking with Sargent Locks about the possibility of doing a special run of locksets for us Eichler owners who want original style front door locks and any information is appreciated.

Does the inside front door have a 6" ecutcheon like the outside? Does the photo of the outside knob from Barry Brisco's website show a knob that would be appropriate for a 1955 Eichler as well as his 1959?

http://totheweb.com/eichler/e_house/2_front_door_detail.html[url]

Thanks,

Dane Henas

Dane[/url]

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

it would be great if they would reproduce those interior doorknobs too because I haven't been able to find any that match. Does anyone know about that?

My 1964 does not have the 6" escutcheon on the inside of the exterior door.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Dane, looking at the many 1955 era Eichlers in Palo Alto, I'd say that no, the escutcheon like Barry has was not yet developed then. But it looks good anyway, so if you want to use it, I say go for it.

/te

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I am not sure when the escutcheon plates first appeared on Eichler Homes, but I do know other modern tract home builders were using them as early as 1954. I have seen ads in House & Home advertising them even earlier.

With the 6 inch escutcheon plate, you will need a new, undrilled door as most predrilled standard doors have the knob hole about 2.5 inches from the edge of the door. If you have an old door with the knob hole at least 3.5 inches from the edge, you may be OK to mount an escutcheon plate. Of course, with the hole farther from the edge, you need a longer bolt to reach the jam (not sure of the exact hardware term).

So, if you're considering getting a new door and don't have a escutcheon plate yet, consider locating the knob in a position to accommodate one.

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Sargent says they are aware of us Eichler owners, but said that it's too small a run to consider. Back to the drawing board...

Dane

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

It's not rocket science. All we need is an escutcheon plate and a someone to fabricate them. While I don't have a plate, I would be willing to visit some machine shops in my area, or find a metal smith to get some bids based on a certain quantity. If a plate can't be provided, I would take a schematic drawing to specifications and shop that around (is there an engineer out there who can draw this?).

If someone wants to try this in the Bay Area, I would be happy to contribute some money, that is if others are willing to poney-up.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

It's not rocket science. All we need is an escutcheon plate and a someone to fabricate them. While I don't have a plate, I would be willing to visit some machine shops in my area, or find a metal smith to get some bids based on a certain quantity. If a plate can't be provided, I would take a schematic drawing to specifications and shop that around (is there an engineer out there who can draw this?).

If someone wants to try this in the Bay Area, I would be happy to contribute some money, that is if others are willing to poney-up.

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Joined: Apr 21 2003

Dana,

Thank you for your efforts attempting to get Sargent to consider reproducing the Chrome escutheon plate used by Eichler.

Out of curiosity, did they indicate or do you have a sense of what kind of demand might induce them to change their minds?

It just seems like with the resurgence of popularity of mid-century modern styles and with the fact that there are over 10,000 Eichlers and god knows how many other mid-century modern homes out there - there just might be a market for something like this. I just wonder if there was something that we, as a community, can do to make them reconsider their position......

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I really doubt there is much of a market. These escutheon plates are a small design detail very few people understand or even notice, even Eichler owners. I really doubt any large door knob and lock company would even be remotely interested in reproducing these plates. Even if every Eichler owner in California wanted one, it's too small of a market to even look at. As I mentioned above, it's going to take a small metal shop to custom make a couple dozen for those interested (as I am).

By the way, these plates are not chrome, rather brushed aluminum, or stainless steel to match the knob. Does anyone else have knowledge of finished on these plates? I know the manufacturer offered a brass/copper (dull) finish, but don't know if Eichler used them.

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Joined: Apr 21 2003

I respectfully disagree with your comments.

1) I have been a visitor to the Chatterbox lounge for a couple of years now and the darn doorknobs are one of the most popular topics of conversation. They are not a minor design detail - the Eichler doors are completely plain, solid doors and the only ornamentation that they have is the color and the escutheon plate. Without the escutheon plate (or some similarly modern piece of impressive hardware - AND I have never actually seen a good substitute - though I am sure that one could be designed) the doors look like they belong on the low income housing - not an architect designed home.

2) Have you been to Costco and Home Expo lately? Both stores have prominent displays of Coleman's newly re-issued 1950s Chrome coolers. And Oster re-issued its original style blender a few years ago and I see that its still on the market which implies that it has been successful. DeLongi introduced a retro-style toaster oven about a year ago and I see it is being carried by Costco and other popular retailers. So I don't think it is a huge stretch for Sargent to be woken up to the fact that there is a real market for mid-century modern and that they are missing the boat. I would be happy to write a letter to the Buyer or Product Manager of Sargent on behalf of the Eichler community. I am not saying they would do this out of the kindness of their hearts or a love of mid-century design. But I believe it is worth a shot to try to open their eyes to this. Maybe it only has a small chance of working - but it wouldn't be alot of effort and it sounded like Dane might actually have the name of someone to email at Sargent - so I would be willing to try.

I stand corrected - they are brushed aluminum - I was really only referring to the "silver/chrome" color - not the material. I saw some "brass/golden" colored plates and knobs on a house (or houses) in the Walnut Creek development but I am not sure to the extent this finish was used by eichler. I personally don't think it seems as "modern" in that color finish.

BTW, my door also only has the escutheon plate on the front of the door, not on the inside. I am in favor of having someone fabricate the escutheon plate - but all I know is that this has been talked about for over 2 years since I have used this website - and it has never been done - so that is why I willing to try to "persuade" Sargent. And although I have the original escutheon plate, I would buy a couple of new ones if it were available (and a reasonable price) to have a nice fresh one and probably to put one on the inside of the door.

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

My Sacramento Eichler is a 1995 Palo Alto style--similar to Plan JE-15, or the one shown on the bottom of page 46 in the Ditto book. Could someone post or e-mail me a photo of an original doorknob and escutcheon--if they even had them? Maybe I've been barking up the wrong tree...

By the way, Sargent Locks has interior door knobs that are very close to the originals. Mine are polished brass--Did they always use polished brass on these? I'm seriously thinking of going with brushed chrome instead.

Thanks,

Dane

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Correction: It's a "1955" ...

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Joined: Jul 19 2003

If anyone has a photograph of escutcheon plates, as well as interior and exterior knobs and door hinges, please let me know. I have a lot of sources nationwide for these items and may be able to locate something. Dennis

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Update:

After researching my neighborhood for original Eichler front doors, I came to the conclusion that only 2 of the original 50 or so remained, and neither one had the aformentioned 6" excutcheon, but instead a 3-1/2 escutcheon was used with a 5" backset. This is probably due the fact that they were built in 1955,and the big escutcheons possibly came later.

Sargent Locks, the original manufacturer of the door locks inside and out has a very clean and minimal door lock in their 8/9 line called an LB Design. This is what I went with for the front door in addition to replacing the interior knobs and locks with new Sargent 6 series locks, which are the contemporary counterpart to what was originally installed. I went with brushed chrome throughout rather than the original polished brass (yecchh!) and they look totally bitchin with the new Lauan Mahogany doors!

So, I have no need to fabricate any door escutcheons. Thanks to all who expressed an interest in escutheons, but hopefull someone else will take up the cause.

I will post photos on my website soon of my home restoration and will include photos of the doorknobs for those interested.

Thanks,

Dane Henas

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Joined: Mar 23 2011

My brother-in-law owns a fabrication shop. I'm sending him the specifications, so we'll see if he can do it. The more he makes, the cheaper they are per unit. He doesn't see any problem making them. Now the question is whether or not it will cost too much.

I will post another message as soon as I learn something.

cpw
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Joined: May 19 2003

Does anyone have dimensions on a "typical" escutcheon? I bought a 5" backset lockset so I would think that the 3.5" radius escutcheon would be appropriate. I'd like to know the thickness around the knob, how thin it gets at the edge, and from that, I can come up with a radius. Our company machine shop could fabricate one (sorry, only one) if I knew the dimensions.

Thanks,

Chuck (West San Jose)

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Joined: Nov 21 2003

Has anybody else come up with a solution to this problem? Are there any photos of the original door hardware anywhere? Or could somebody forward me the link or photos?

Thanks

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Here's a link to a photo of my new front door (and other photos of my house--under re-construction-'scuse the crap) with a current production Sargent knob and escutcheon I went with. I think it looks fine, and it works so smooth!

http://www.danehenasdesign.com/Eichler/

Dane Henas

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Joined: Nov 21 2003

Thanks Dane for the pics. Looks like you are doing a bang up job of your remodel.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Dane, you have a great Eichler. My favorite light taupe stain on the panels, and the plan is one of Quincy Jones great ones. My parents 1956 Greendell Eichler has the brass doorknobs, but like you I'd be inclined to used matte or brushed chrome or nickel. Btw, did your house originally have the built-in table do you know? I kept mine even though all the kitchen was remodelled (original cabinets too wrecked to save) and love it. Let us see the kitchen when you're finished if you can.

/te

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Hi Dane,

Thanks for sharing your photos. I know lots of people need a replacement entry doorknob set. Your selection is, as you say, an update using the same manufacturer. Would you be willing to give the details of what you got--make, model, ballpark price--for both the sargent knob and escutcheon? I hope that isn't out of line to ask so others to benefit from your research.

For myself, I have a 50s schlage I was planning to use while I wait for an original sargent--but if I don't like the look when I mount it, it would be great to have another alternative would be great.

Cheers.
Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

nice job, dane. these BIG projects can be time and money consuming. But, in the end, you'll be happy with the results. Your chair collection looks like mine. It's sooo hard to pass up a great deal on an Eames. My wife says, "no more chairs!"

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Joined: Aug 27 2003

Since we're back on this topic, I'd like to share my solution to the lack of an original front door. We bought our Eichler in August, and it has suffered some well-meaning but misguided 'renovations' over the years, including a new front door complete with panels and a half circle, etched glass window in the top. It also had Victorian lantern-style front light and elegant tile house numbers. (I do have a 'before' picture, but haven't posted it.) So the front door got immediate attention when we moved in. Having followed this topic, I knew the escutcheon was going to be a problem. I bought an undrilled slab door at Home Depot and ordered a Schlage Orbit doorknob with a 5 1/2" backset online. Also ordered a new front light, and had my dad, who has a wood shop in his basement, make me some house numbers per the original Eichler fonts that are available out there (the links are in other posts here in Chatterbox.) I took pictures of the neighbors original front doors and doing the math from the pictures (ratio of knob to escutcheon) figured the escutcheon was about 7" across. The escutcheons also looked remarkably like saucers. So I went in search of an old metal plate in thrift stores, with the intention of cutting out the middle. What I found was a candle stand in a Michael's Craft Store that was the perfect size, and flat enough to work. (Most of the plates I found were to concave.) It had a base screwed into it, which was easily removed. It was bright gold. Using a nail, hammer and metal blade in my hack saw, I removed the center of the plate in a circle large enough to fit the doorknob hardware through. Then spray painted it "brushed aluminum." The resulting renovation can be seen at:

http://www.geocities.com/salameander88

I'm pretty pleased with it! I've also posted the close-ups of my neighbors escutcheons for those of you who were looking to see some. The photos were taken from the street with digital zoom, so they get pretty grainy, but you can at least see the basic curves of the escutcheons.

Now to figure out how to eliminate the Country Kitchen without a major renovation... -Lynne

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

nice job. I just installed a new slab door (needs a nice coat of behr volcanic blast orange) and schlage brushed knob. I wish I would have known about the 5-1/2" backset, though.

As I have mentioned in this thread before. These plates are not difficult to reproduce. I am sure a local metalsmith/metalshop could reporduce some if he had an original or good drawings.

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

hi,

Sorry I didn't get back to you all sooner about the sargent lockset. And thanks for all of the kudos on my remodel! I'll post new photos soon.

My kitchen did not have the original table installed--it was being used in the garage, but with no original legs anywhewre to be found. My neighbors down the street said they still had the leg from their long-gone table and I was welcome to it. It projects a little too far into the dining area, so I don't think I'm going to use it.

The front door is a Sargent Series 8/9 lockset. "B" Knob with a 3-1/2" "L" Rose. It uses the optional 5" Backset. The cost was around $300. I used the cheaper, but matching, series 6 locksets throughout the rest of the house. The door is a solid core Luann Mahogony door that I had to special order.

dane henas

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