Working on historic homes and discovering their architectural and period design secrets is one of the most exciting things we do, and really, you never know what you might uncover when renovating an historic property. We often work in conjunction with the Historic Charleston Foundation to reproduce antique hardware from some of Charleston's finest homes. We recently reproduced a plantation shutter knob for the Nathaniel Russell House, one of their museum houses.
This house, completed in 1808 at a cost of $80,000 by wealthy Charleston shipping merchant Nathaniel Russell, is one on the finest surviving examples of Federal architecture in the and is considered one of America's most important neoclassical houses.
Originally from Rhode Island, Nathaniel moved to Charleston in 1765 and in 1788 married Sarah Hopton, a member of one of Charleston's wealthiest families. Shipping success continued to make Nathaniel one of the wealthiest citizens in Charleston and the construction of one of the most prestigious homes in the city commenced in 1803.
During renovations of this house a couple centuries later, a single shutter knob was found on one of the shutters in a window that had been walled off years ago and unseen for decades. No other knobs remained in the house. The restoration committee of the house contacted Charleston Hardware and requested that we reproduce the knob. The knob was sent to our forge and was reproduced using the same techniques and metal composition as the antique original. The face of the knob and the rosette were forged and the base was sand cast in solid brass. The committee examined the knob and approved its use in the restoration of the house. 125 of these entirely unique and previously unknown knobs were made, installed in the house and are available for viewing today.