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Large or Small, Old or New, Barns and Outbuildings are designed as working structures.   The doors and hardware are the “workingist” part of the barn and define the look of the classic barn.

Historic barns record what has worked over decades & centuries of rough use. A barn’s long-term survival comes down to a couple of details:

  • A dry roof
  • heavy doors & hardware

Hardware is a visual hallmark of the early barn and outbuildings.  Each building was designed with a specific purpose in mind.  The barn doors and their hardware were critical to the building’s function, look and longevity.  Heavy use dictated heavy hardware to swing heavy doors – we’ve based our offerings on historic examples of American blacksmith-made strap hinge hardware that has functioned properly for two centuries and more.

There are no hard rules for which hardware to use.  Period, region, intended use, personal taste and the skill of the local smith all drove the finished product.  Best to browse your neighborhood and our barn photos for ideas that work for you & your doors.  We can match or repair your original hardware or create your own originals.

THE 4 H'S OF BARN HARDWARE:


Heavy Duty Strap Hinges & Pintles
Lafayette dutch door with fixed hinges
The typical barn hinge is an iron strap and attaches to the door itself.  The pintle, on which the hinge hangs and swings, is attached to the structure.  The pintles are matched to the structure to which they’ll mount, the hinges mate with the pintles.

Long after lighter weight manufactured hardware was available in stores, heavy locally made strap hinges continued to be used on the barn doors.  Time had proven strap hinges swung large doors through years of hard use.  Livestock gave the doors a pounding.  A failed hinge could let loose the animals, exposing them to injury or loss and the farmer to at least a bothersome roundup.

Strap hinges vary greatly in size – generally from ½ to 2/3 the width of the door – depends on the doors they swing.  The style of the hinges was determined by the locale of the barn, the skill of the local smith, and the tastes of the owner.


Hasps
Hasps were the most common way to secure the doors on a barn, corn crib, wood shed or similar outbuilding.   Barn door bolts are also popular, but hasps are purely functional and a unique appointment to the American barn & outbuildings.

Hasps are seen that are firmly fixed to the door while others are free to swing down out of the way when not in use.

Hasps were fashioned in the local blacksmith shops, so wide variances were seen in the size and form.  One thing I know – padlocks were expensive.  So I do believe more often than not, a corn cob or wood peg was shoved into the staple to secure the door.

Lafayette Hasp detail
Hopewell swivel hasp
Hopewell fixed hasp

Hooks (and other barn hardware)
Large and small, hooks were easily fashioned by the local blacksmith and were common fare on early buildings.  The hooks would vary greatly in size depending on the door to be secured.  It’s not uncommon to see hooks designed to hold doors in both the open and closed positions.

Look for the tell-tale arc scribed into the wood or stone below the hook, it’s a sure indication that a hook was once used and tells you the hook length and where it was attached to the door or shutter.
Wentz hook

Handles
Plain or fancy, large or small – endless examples of hand forged hardware can found on the early barns.

Handles could serve as pulls or actually latch the door in the closed position.  Again the historic period, skill of the local smith and interests of the farm owner dictated the style of handles used on the barn.  Some of the finest examples of early American door pulls were found on the barn’s “parlor door”. That formal entry – usually covered with a pent roof - where daily the farmer entered the ground floor milking parlor from his adjacent home.

Wentz latch
Wentz handle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandywine Forge Quick Find
SHUTTER TIE-BACKS
SHUTTER HARDWARE
HARDWARE 101
STANDARDS & FINISHES
Pre-Civil War
Heavy Hinges Overview
Overview
Overview
1870's - 1920's
Pintles Overview
A Blacksmith's Glossary of Terms
Standard Dimensions
1920's - Present
Midweight shutter hinges & Pintles
A Brief History of Early Hardware
Weights of Material
Side-mount Shutter Dogs
Lightweight Hinges
Shutter & Hardware Terminology
Finishes
Optional Mounts
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Tolerances
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SHUTTER LOCKS
GATE & HEAVY DOOR HARDWARE
HARDWARE SELECTION
INSTALLATION SITUATIONS
Overview
Gate & Heavy Door
Overview
Overview
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..
Historic Restoration
Hinges in Masonry
BARN HARDWARE
ORDERING INFORMATION
Visible Hardware
Installation Options
Overview
Overview
Shutter Hardware
Board & Batten Shutters
Barn Door Hinges
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New Construction
Strap Hinges.
Barn Door Hooks
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Window/ Door Location
Barn Door Hasps
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HISTORIC FALMOUTH PORT
Window Flush
Barn Door Handles
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Royal Caribbean Lines Terminal
Windows Recessed
Installing Barn Hinges
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