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Hinges - A History Of Innovation

Oct 8, 2007
You use them every day, time and time again, but you likely don't appreciate the hinges that are at work in your home. Think about it, if you want to go outside, or come inside, you rely on hinges to open your door. If you want to make a meal, you are going to rely on a number of hinges for the refrigerator, the oven and all the cabinets in the pantry. How did we possibly get along without hinges?

They have been around for a while, but not forever. Originally, it was a lot tougher to get in and out of the house. In 6000 BC people rolled rocks or propped big hunks of wood and stone in front of the opening to their home as a 'door'. That made for a major workout every time anyone wanted to go outside, or come back in and 'shut the door'

Around 1600 BC someone got the bright idea that they could move things a little easier if they used something close to a hinge. There are ancient buildings that show there were sockets in a stone wall where large wooden doors were hung, making it easier to let your troops out, and close the doors and keep the enemy from coming inside.

The idea of hinges started to spread, but only among those with money or status. For many centuries, the only hinges noted in history were those for sacred buildings, then public spaces. In the Old Testament it is mentioned that King Solomon's Temple had hinged doors.

Eventually, hinges became more commonplace. The kind of hinges we are used to became very popular in the new world. In the American colonies hinges were everywhere. While some of the colonies were trying to cut their ties to England, they still wanted to make sure the hardware pieces, such as hinges, were able to make it to the new world, to make their lives a little easier. Eventually, blacksmiths in the new world took up this calling, making hinges for the masses.

You may only think of hinges in homes, but they were a big part of the western exploration travels in the US. As all those coaches and carriages started looking for new opportunities, they needed a way to get out of those coaches. Yes, they needed hinges. It is no surprise there were a number of shops setting up along the cities in the exploration routes that offered hinges among the other items one would need to keep their coach in tip-top condition.

Since then, the market for hinges has continued to boom. Not only are they a simple piece of hardware that can make previously hard tasks easy, but they also are able to be decorations. The designer market has latched on to hinges and started to create them in a number of ornate styles so they are not just a functional piece of hardware to help you open your cabinets, but also an attractive addition to them.
About the Author
Jesse Akre, author, offers his insight on the styles and uses of decorative cabinet hinges, door hinges and hinges.
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