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Hinged on History

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Brad Williams displays doorknobs, hinges, and more in his company’s Heriot Street showroom. The lion head door-knocker, eight inches in diameter, is especially stunning. Photographs by (door) Alexandria Antonacci, (knocker) Ruta Elvikyte, & (Williams) Ashley Gartz

July 10, 2013

Hinged on History
Charleston Hardware sells a huge variety of meticulous reproductions

Written by Lauren Johnson

Fifteen years ago, when Brad Williams set out to restore a circa-1900 house on New Street, he didn’t expect to unlock a new career. But as he struggled to find period-appropriate doorknobs, he latched onto the idea of establishing an antique hardware reproduction business. Now, Charleston Hardware Company deals precise replicas to architects, designers, homeowners, and historians, as well as restores and refinishes antique hardware.

“Hardware is one of the main finishes in an old house, so it should be a true representation of the original,” says Williams. His company’s dedication to authenticity has led to government and museum projects throughout the U.S., including Historic Charleston Foundation’s Nathaniel Russell and Aiken-Rhett houses and the Rutherford B. Hayes mansion in Ohio.

Working from an ever-expanding collection of original locks, handles, knobs, doorbells, and more, Williams collaborates with foundries in India to analyze metal content and create molds. Then copies are cast in iron, brass, bronze, and the like. “I want to have an entire suite—maybe 20 different working pieces in a particular pattern—before reproducing it,” says Williams. The company’s current line, on display at its showroom and, includes 17 reproduction suites from the Colonial, Victorian, and Art Deco eras.

To enter to win a fish-shaped cast bronze plant hook from Charleston Hardware (eight winners will be selected at random), click here.