Fun Facts About Door Knobs
Some have estimated that there are 42 billion doors in the world. While you’ll never come close to going through that many in your lifetime, you will go through a great deal. From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you fall asleep, you are entering and exiting doors all day (and night) long – at home, at work, and everywhere in between.
Chances are, you’ve never thought much about this, nor all the door knobs you on a daily basis. Here is a brief history of the door knob, followed by some fun facts about these invaluable little mechanisms.
A History of Doors
The earliest known civilizations lived in dwellings without doors like caves and igloos. As humans progressed they began farming, and lodging became more permanent. They constructed rudimentary huts and stone circle abodes, and hung animal skins, woven mats, or other textiles as “doors”.
According to historical findings, around 1600 B.C., during the Bronze age, the first use of hinged doors appeared in the Hittite Empire (close to modern-day Turkey). There is also Biblical reference to the door of King Solomon’s tomb (600 B.C.).
The ancient Greeks fashioned bronze hinges, and were the first to use surface rims locks and keys. The Greeks used an iron or bronze pull handle of sorts, thus introducing the precursor to the modern-day door knob.
The simple latch-string door opening/closing technique was in effect for hundreds of years until inventor Osbourne Dorsey filed a patent for his new-fangled turning door knob mechanism – although it would take a while for it to become the commonplace fixture we use today.
Fun Fact #1: Doorknobs: A Testament to American Diversity and Ingenuity
The aforementioned man who invented the door knob – Osbourn Dorsey – was an African-American. Historians know little about this brilliant man, and are not even sure if he was a freed slave, or born a free man. Most of the information we know about him has been obtained from his patent application.
Fun Fact #2: Door Knobs Can Be Dangerous to Your Health
As many as 1 out of 3 people admit to not washing their hands after using public restrooms! According to a cbsnews.com article, within mere hours, 1 infected doorknob can spread viruses to 40-60% of people in workplaces, hospitals and other public places. Instead of staying away from sick people in public, you’re better off avoiding touching door knobs with your bare hands.
Fun Fact #3: How Much is That Doggie in the Door Knob?
In 1869, Russel & Erwin manufactured what is now the most collectible 19th century Victorian door knob – the “Doggy Doorknob”. Cast out of solid bronze, the 3-dimensional dog and his paws are intricately carved into the face of the knob with ornamental embellishes. An original was auctioned off in the late 1990s for $3,950.
Fun Fact #4: Smart Door Knobs
The “Healthy Handle” door knob, designed by Choi Borni, actually disinfects itself, and the hands that use it! Through an ingenious method of automatically turning targeted UV light on and off, handles and hands are sanitized and many germs that can cause illnesses are killed. It also acts as nightlight.
Fun Fact #5: X-Rated Door Knobs
Did you know that college roommates have their own version of the hotel “Do Not Disturb” door knob signs? If you see a sock hanging from the door knob of your college dorm room’s door, better stay out. It means your roommate is warning you (and everyone else) not to come in, because they are having a romantic interlude inside.
Fun Fact #6: Shakespeare and Door Knobs
Have you ever heard someone say something was as “dead as a door knob”? This is a common mistake. The actual phrase is “dead as a doornail”, yet like many phrases repeated over time, some get it wrong, and that perpetuates the mistake. The expression first appeared in Shakespeare’s Henry VI.
Fun Fact #7: Fire Caused by a Door Knob
In what has to be one of the most freak accidents of all time, a door knob caused a fire in a London apartment in 2014. The sun shining at just the right angle through a crystal door knob refracted the sun’s rays so intensely onto nearby clothing, that the clothes caught fire. Luckily, no one was hurt.
Fun Fact #8: Door Knob Moments
Psychologists and therapists refer to “door knob moments”, or “door knob confessions” as those jaw-dropping comments clients sometimes say in the last few minutes of a session – almost on their way out – that often cause the session to be extended.
We hope you will think of these interesting facts about the door knob the next time you turn one, which – by all accounts – should be pretty soon.