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A Brief & Interesting History of Hinges

The hinge is an incredibly simple yet important piece of technology. Many, including myself, believe the hinge to be one of the greatest inventions of the ancient and modern world. Its importance to everyday life is right up there with the wheel. The actual beginning of the hinge is unknown, but the first traces of the hinge date back to 1600 B.C.
Ancient Egyptian Hinge

Discoveries in Hattusa, an ancient eastern capital, showed early forms of hinges being used to make massive objects mobile. Hattusa was surrounded by stone walls with two giant wooden doors swinging open on pivots set inside large stone sockets. Sadly, at this date hinges were not available to the average home owners. They were known only to be on public or sacred buildings (sound familiar?). In the Old Testament hinges are mentioned when describing King Solomon's elaborate temple, which included gold-plated sockets for solid gold doors. See 2 Chronicles 4:22.

The Egyptians are also included in the history of the hinge. Hinges have been found among Egyptian ruins dating back to about 760-650 B.C. Babylonians and Assyrians, in late B.C. and early A.D., were also recognized as hinge users. Moving slightly forward in time, the hinge begins to develop.

The Romans, being at the forefront in technology, developed an improved hinge system. Not only using the hinge for great community structures, but also for ordinary household items such as cabinets, doors, drawers etc. They had hinges placed on certain armor pieces for greater mobility. The Romans even had a "goddess" of the door hinge known as Cardea.

Cardea Hinge Goddess Roman Hinged Armor

The next significant advancement in the hinge saga came from the English colonies in the 16th and 17th century. All types of reinforced metals were used to create a stronger and more powerful hinge. Different styles began to develop to make everyday appliances easier to operate. Years later, the American colonists took the idea of the hinge with them. Jamestown settlers imported hinges from English colonies for many of years. Blacksmithing became a very popular job due to the domestic need for hardware for the American colonies. The hinge was becoming a common item and soon some style and flair were to be added as working with metal became easier and easier.

Colonial Hinge

Ancient Egyptian Hinge

When colonists eventually moved west, the hinge followed. In the 1850's Charles Hager founded the present day Hager Companies which developed wagon wheel rims and hinges for the wagon doors. They have an interesting history that can be seen on their home page. By this time, colonists had what is now considered to be a modern day hinge. Since then many innovations of the hinge have developed: the T-hinge in 1843, the ball bearing hinge in 1899, and in 1900 the most common hinge used today was developed, the butt hinge. Today, there are a dizzying number of types and variations of hinges. We hope this site will help you sort them out!

D. Lawless Hardware carries a big selection and can help you out if you don't know what you need. Thank for reading!

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D. Lawless Hardware is located in the small Midwestern town of Olney, Illinois. Surrounded North, East, South and West by Interstate highways, all an hour's drive away (that's 50-60 miles out here in the sticks for you city folks who drive an hour to work), I like to joke that we are "centrally located in the middle of nowhere". We like it here and we think you would too. Olney has great schools, a junior college, a hospital, 2 industrial parks, 3 recreational parks, a good-sized lake for fishing, boating, and an abundant water supply, a small local all-weather airport, and lots of fresh air and room to breath it. Like all small towns, we appreciate all our local industries, but are always actively seeking growth. So, if you or your company is considering new site locations, please check us out. You can click on the image above for information.

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