If you’ve spent any time peering at the door hardware in a late 19th century Brooklyn house, you’ve probably spotted an Eastlake hinge or doorknob but perhaps not known what to call it. Eastlake was a popular design style in the late 19th century and is characterized by a combination of naturalistic and geometric patterns.
While often very complex in design, it was less “fussy” and more clean and linear than earlier Victorian styles.
British architect Charles Eastlake was part of the Aesthetic Movement, which promoted the idea that one should live surrounded by beauty. Eastlake’s book, Hints on Household Tastes in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details, was hugely popular when it was published in the U.S. in 1872.
Eastlake himself was inspired by Japanese design and the flora and fauna of the culture appeared frequently in his work.
Eastlake-inspired hardware was particularly popular in U.S. in the 1880s and 1890s, a time when new homes were popping up all over Brooklyn. Eastlake hardware is common in Neo-Grec and Queen Anne buildings in Brooklyn and could take the form of drawer pulls, hinges, doorknobs, door sets and pocket door sets.
Typically made of brass, Eastlake hardware could be left natural, antiqued, bronzed, Japanned, or two-tone. Today many reproductions are available or the real thing can be found at salvage yards.
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