Midcentury Suburbs Part 5: Fabulous Escutcheons

Those fantastic Midcentury pattern doors needed hardware to match, and companies like Schlage and Kwikset were happy to provide them. (Both companies are still major door handle manufacturers four decades later.)

The two open-backed designs below are both from Schlage, dating back to 1956: the Manhattan and the Continental, respectively.

Ring plate

Squared ring

Schlage, by contrast, went for the starburst designs, including the two below.

Starburst with a round backing plate


Heavy round designs were also common, simple but massive plates with textured patterns.

Basic round & heavy

Complex round

And then I’ve encountered a few that are seemingly unique, elegant patterns of unknown inspiration and as-yet undetermined manufacturer.

Onassis fabulous

Equilateral polygon

Some kind of Aztec thing or something

Finding these bits of hardware takes a bit of diligence, a lot of peering into the shadows and past the trees and bushes and screen doors. They don’t pop out like a spectacular building does. It’s rare that a good photograph can be taken from the public right-of-way (once or twice I’ve indulged in a little benign trespassing to get the shot!), so getting a good capture is all the more rewarding.

6 thoughts on “Midcentury Suburbs Part 5: Fabulous Escutcheons

  1. I grew up next to a red brick and white limestone “infill” building (next to our “heraldric medieval” red brick and limestone six-flat) which had a brass starburst door escutcheon. When we lived in the country before we were reverse white-flight my best friend lived in a ranchy house with a center knob (as in being in the middle of the door) with a crazy escutcheon. The house also had sunken tubs with fish faucets and a Monte Carlo AND Orange Civic in the garage (this was the mid-70s).

  2. Very cool pics. I’m going to pass this along to my wife. She’s a designer with a huge affinity for mid-century modern elements. She’ll love it.Thanks for posting!

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