When you want to fully and accurately restore your historic home, you have to do a lot of research. This research often involves everything from paint to wood to door hardware and more. If you have currently reached the brass hardware identification stage, you will find that there are a number of routes you can go.

Brass Hardware Reprint Books

Just as you can find reprint books of vintage automobiles, you can also find reprint books of vintage and historic brass hardware. In fact, anything that came with an instruction sheet, book, or manual and is over ten years old is now a "reprint book" because most of these old sheets and manuals are out-of-print or hard to find. The reprint books list brass hardware for doors and windows by decade, and then by style and name. If you have some idea of when the hardware on your doors was made, you can get a reprint book of that decade or era to help you accurately identify what you have and begin your hunt for replacement pieces. Companies like Ted Crom Books can help you with this.

Ask a Historian Who Specializes in Brass Hardware

Historians who specialize in brass hardware can also be of assistance. If you can track such a person down, you can send some pictures of the hardware your doors currently have, and then ask the historian to identify them. It may be that these are not even the original hardware, in which case the historian can offer some suggestions on what to look for as replacement and restoration hardware for the age of your home. Some historians are collectors as well, which may provide you with an opportunity to purchase what you need directly from a historian that knows his/her stuff.

Scour Antique Shops

You would be amazed at what antique collectors find and sell in their shops. Cast iron stoves, brass handles and faux crystal knobs, etc., are all found inside antique shops. You may even find hinges, skeleton keys to fit the old locks on your doors, and original brass hardware books and order catalogs for home builders. Since almost everything is tagged with the type, design and approximate year of production, you are sure to find hardware items that fit the age and era of your home. Even if you cannot find exact matches for the pieces you currently have, or find enough replacement pieces for your restoration project, you can learn a lot about what is available and where to find it.