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Although we may not frequently realize it, the history of working with metals to make hardware goes far back in time, and has since its humble beginnings come a very long way. In the fashioning of basic tools, one of the first metals to be used alongside stone was copper, which has been dated back to around 9000 BC. Since the aptly named Copper Age, metal began to be mixed in Ancient Egypt with tin to create the first alloy in existence, Bronze, whose own Age eventually trickled to the western world of Europe, where Greeks and Romans extended the use of the metal in their creation of elaborate statues and art.
Prior to the discovery of iron deposits in Connecticut, Early Americans resorted to wood for the locking hatches on their doors, and only then began to produce simple wrought iron hardware for latches and hinges. As history displays, the developing country struggled with its heavy dependence on England for mass imports of bronze and brass, and gradually broke free from the country’s industrial reigns while beginning to develop distinct American metal innovations such as Colonial Georgian designs in the South and “coach latches” in Pennsylvania. In gaining independence, America called for the birth of pioneers in the manufacturing of metals, and the trade has since been at the heart of American industry.
These days, trying to navigate the wide expanse that the metals industry has flourished into is not quite as simple a feat as the Egyptians had it when they wanted a copper spear. In the constant flux of today’s industry with regards to innovation, discovery, and technology, there are numerous metals available for use, which can be infinitely combined through the creation of different alloys and the utilization of various methods of casting, forging and finishing. Considering this, we realize that it can be difficult to determine what metal is best for your project, not only in terms of aesthetic, but in flexibility and durability. For instance, what sort of metal should you use on the exterior of a beach house, which requires that the metal is resistant to saltwater? Are certain metals less resistant to humid weather? What metals are more durable for busy commercial entry doors, which will experience more wear-and-tear?
To make life easier for you, we’re breaking it down to the basics. The following will provide you with the fundamentals about you need to know about what’s out there in architectural hardware today.