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A History of Finger Plates

April 8, 2010

Ceramic Finger Plates in 4 colours
written by Vicki Bale

Porcelain Finger Plates, still manufactured in the Staffordshire potteries.


Finger plates are also known as door plates, push plates or finger panels.

Finger plates were introduced to protect the finish on doors from dirty finger marks. They also provided scope for further decoration of the door. Early styles from about 1800 were in polished brass sometimes with a simple decorative border or reeding. These were to be found in up market Regency homes. By the 1850’s they had become an item for the middle classes and even some of the working classes. Most doors between 1850 and 1950 had finger plates.

There have been hundreds of different styles of door plates over the years. They have been made in a wide variety of materials including wood, tin, brass, bronze, copper, glass, porcelain and bakelite. They have been moulded, painted, etched, pressed, cast and stamped and been anything from plain and simple to highly decorative. There have been elegant expensive finger plates and cheap tin ones. Brass was the material of choice where cost was not the main concern, but perhaps the largest market was for Ceramic or Porcelain Finger Plates which were made in the Staffordshire potteries and in literally hundreds of options.

Sometimes doors had a second smaller finger plate which would be positioned under the door knob this would be to stop the children”s dirty finger marks.

Finger plates have rather gone out of fashion since the 1950’s but using these gives a period door an authentic look. We offer Brass Finger Plates and Porcelain finger plates on line and can do Nickel Finger Plates (by request).

Click on the pics below to link to the products.

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    Beverley Hutchinson says:

    Many thanks for this history, regarding door plates most informative.