Dating antique furniture screws

I know what I discovered will amaze you as much as it did me.

I bought four different boxes of screws to test – a common drywall screw (because most woodworkers use this screw as they start woodworking), a zinc-plated screw off the shelf from a home center, as well as a premium square-drive screw from Mc Feely’s ( and a box of Spax screws (also considered premium) purchased online (

So, what about the earlier hardware, which a good number of us in the Northeast living in homes dating before 1860 might have or had in them?

I myself have chosen to live in and restore an early 19th century house and must decide with what I am going to replace the cheap hollow doors with their non-descript brass plated doorknobs installed in the 1960s.

The historic and aesthetic value of antique hardware was recognized by a group of people in the 1970s, which organized as the Antique Doorknob Collectors of America in 1981, a nonprofit whose purpose is the study and preservation of ornamental hardware.

They are constantly working to enlarge their research archive of hardware catalogs and advertising material, and updating their reference book “Victorian Decorative Art,” which documents decorative doorknob designs of the period previously mentioned.

Then, as you snug the screw those final few threads, the connection pulls tight and the screw snaps.

I was curious to find out why some screws break and others don’t.

dating antique furniture screws-88dating antique furniture screws-82

(Nails supplied by IJP Building Conservation) Hand-Forged Nails Nails were among the first metal objects made by mankind, indispensable or such everyday items as doors and roof coverings, shoes, buckets and barrels.Late 18th century Woods used: Mahogany Description: Straight, slender lines; heavy Greek classic influence; fluted columns; delicate low-relief carvings, especially draped garlands.Late 18th century Woods used: Mahogany; satinwood inlay/veneer Desscription: Based on Adam; straight tapered legs; shield- oval-, or heart-shaped chair backs; less decoration; delicate carvings.It usually happens as you hang a door or install a shelf.You’ve got a balancing act going as you hold one piece, steady a second piece and attempt to drive a screw all at the same time.

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