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Need Help Buying Door Furniture? – Door Furniture A-Z

January 1, 2014

Lots of Door Furniture Terminology
written by Vicki Bale
Lots of Door Furniture Terminology

Lots of Door Furniture Terminology


Door Furniture can be complicated and even has its very own language! When you start shopping in this market the terms can be a little daunting. Please use our A-Z of the specialist terminology  below to aid your understanding. We hope you find this posting useful and please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance. Perhaps there is another term that is puzzling you that we have missed? If so, let us know by e-mailing vicki@priorsrec.co.uk. We have may articles on our Blog which cover some of the items in more depth, so please use the links below for more reading.

Bathroom Turn & Release

The thumb turn is the component that projects and retracts a deadbolt or latch bolt by grasping with the thumb and fingers and turning. On the front side of the door is a rounded part which can be turned and released in event of an emergency. A neat and easy solution for locking a bathroom or loo door. For more information click here Bathroom Turn and Release

Backplate or Rose Fixed

A rose or backplate on a door knob, which is fixed permanently to the knob itself. Only suitable for use with a mortise lock or latch, so cannot be used on a rim lock (surface mounted box).

Backplate or Rose Loose

A rose or backplate on a door knob which is not permanently fixed to the knob. It is a separate component to allow the knobs to be used with surface mounted locks and latches


The backset is the distance from the vertical edge of the door to the centre of the hole for the spindle or the lock. It is important to know this measurement when you are lining up an escutcheon or key cover under a pair of knobs or a bathroom lock under a door knob. Sufficient backset is also critical to ensure you do not trap your fingers between the door knob and the door frame when you open and close the door. Click here for more detail What is a backset measurement?

Beehive Door Knobs

A design which was very popular in the Victorian Era. Rings run from the base to the end of the door knob. The rings were decorative and practical offering improved grip. It is remains a design classic today. Click on the link to our article Beehive Door Knobs.

Beggar Latch

A surface mounted box, similar to a rim latch. It works by pushing a a sprung plate on the base of the latch and does not require a door handle or a door knob. Normally used on one way access doors.

Bolt Straight

A straight bolt moves across in a straight line into a surface mounted bolt keeper plate on the door frame and is used when the door and frame are flush.

Bolt Cranked

A bolt which is used where the door and frame are not flush. The keeper is a flat plate which must be fitted to the frame. A hole must be cut out in the frame behind the plate to house the shoot of the bolt.

Centre Pull or Centre Knob

A single door knob which is normally positioned in the centre of a door to act as a pull. They normally bolt from the back in a fixed position ie they do not turn.

Chrome Plate

A thin durable layer of chrome deposited (in the case of our products) over brass by a process of electrolysis. The finish is a shiny mirror like silver which was popular in the Art Deco period and is very popular today in Bathrooms, due to the clean look of polished chrome. It can also be made to a satin rather than a polished finish. Click on the link to our articles, Chrome and Chrome PlateNickel and Chrome Plating – A Brief History.

Cylinder Lock

Mainly used with multi point locks in PVC and composite doors. Ofter called Euro Cylinders, they come in a variety of sizes. They are a universal size fitting and can be used with any brand of lock case. They can be swapped without any disturbance to the mortise lock case if you need to change the locks.

Cylinder Pull

A decorative pull which covers a cylinder lock eg Yale or Chubb. They act as a nice finish over the lock hole and also can be used to pull the door. Often in brass or plated finishes to match your front door furniture.


A lock which needs a key to open, but does not incorporate a handle or knob. It is a box which sits inside your door and you only see the facing plates on the door and frame.

Door Handles/Door Knobs Unsprung and Sprung

Sprung door handles or door knobs have a spring built into the backplate which allows them to spring back after turning or pushing down. These tend to be more modern examples. Unsprung door handles and door knobs do not have any springing built in and rely on the spring in the latch mechanism to do all the work. The spring in the latch must be heavy duty if door knobs or handles are unsprung. Most of our range is un-sprung as all period door knobs would have been. If you have door knobs or handles which don’t spring back then the chances are you have a latch with a weak spring which is not up to the job.

Door Stop

A fixed device that stops a door from banging against a wall. A pedestal door stop fixes to a wall and has a round bar with a rubber tip which sticks out 50-100mm. A hooded door stop fits to the floor and is hooded on one side and a stop on the other. This part is normally covered in rubber.


This is a key hole cover. These can have a cover or be open. They are used to cover the key hole and stop draughts. Click on the link to our article Escutcheons

Espagnolette Lock

A locking device for French Windows. A handle is mounted to the door frame, which when turned, operates vertical rods with hooks on each end which engage in sockets at the head and sill of the door opening. A system commonly used with windows.

Finger Plates

Also known as door plates, push plates or finger panels. These were commonly used on doors to protect them from dirty finger marks. Usually positioned above the door knob, sometimes with a smaller second one below (for children’s fingers!). These were popular in Victorian times and were often highly decorative. They were made in all sorts of materials, brass, wood, porcelain, glass. They are less popular today, our modern fingers perhaps not as dirty as Victorian ones! If you want your Victorian door to look authentic, then you should have finger plates. Click on the link to our article  A History of Fingerplates

Hinges – Ball Bearing

A top quality heavy duty butt hinge (see below) with ball bearings fitted between the hinge knuckles to reduce friction and give longer hinge life. Butt hinges can also have phosphor bronze washers which do a similar job.

Hinges – Butterfly

Hinges with two flared plates on either side of the hinge which resemble butterfly wings. Also known as Dovetail hinges. Often used on desks, cabinets and smaller doors or furniture. Generally made in iron.

Hinges – Butt

The most common hinges sold are butt hinges. Hinges which have two rectangular plates joined by the hinged part. These are normally used to hang doors. One side goes into the edge of the door and the other screws to the door frame.

Hinges H-Hinges

A type of hinge shaped like the letter H, used on flush mounted doors. These are often small for cabinets or small doors. Sometimes called a parliament hinge.

Hinges HL

A traditional surface mounted hinge which when opened resemble a capital H&L. Very common on doors in the 17-19th centuries.

Hinges – Hook & Band

Sometimes called a hook and eye hinge. Usually for heavy duty use. The hook is fixed to the door frame and acts as a pivot for the hinge to swing on. The hinge is normally an iron bar (sometimes decorative) which goes across the back of the door. They can sometimes be straight or cranked to keep the door flush with the face of the door and frame.

Hinges – T

Hinges for planked, cottage or ledged and boarded doors. They look like the letter T when opened. Can be used to hang doors of all sizes as they come in many lengths. Normally hand forged in iron and finished with beeswax. The T part fixes to the door frame with the bar screwing into the door. These should cover 50-66% of the door width and they add to the construction of the door and prevent planks dropping. Click on the link to our article T-Hinges for Traditional Doors

Hinges – Strap

A hinge with a long bar for screwing to the surface of a large door or gate.

Hinges – Parliament & Projection

These are hinges which look similar to a butt hinge but have the fixing holes drilled on the outer edge of the hinge leaf. This allows the hinge to clear any obstructions such as door frames and architraves. They also allow doors to be folded back 180 degrees. Often used on pairs of doors between a lounge and dining room or a pair of external doors to a garden. Normally made in brass.

Insurance Rating

Insurance companies insist on certain types of lock to guarantee they will meet a claim for burglary. It is essential that external doors are fitted with a minimum of one deadlock conforming to British Standard BS3621. This type of deadlock is only for use on wooden doors. For composite and PVC doors there are various types of multi point lock. Consult your insurer and door supplier to make sure you are covered.

Lacquered Brass

Brass which after polishing is coated in clear lacquer to protect the shine. See entry for unlacquered brass or click on the link to our article Unlacquered or Lacquered Brass?

Letter Plate

A decorative plate which covers the hole on the front side of a door, with a flap for the post to go through. Sometimes these are also covered on the inside with a letter plate cover or tidy. These were first used with the introduction of the Royal Mail.

Locks Keyed Alike/Unalike

If you want one key to operate several locks then these are known as keyed alike. Expect to pay a little extra for this service. If you want separate keys for your locks then these are keyed unalike.

Mortise Lock

A mortise lock requires a slot or pocket to be cut into the edge of a door to contain it. The 5 lever version is an Insurance requirement on external doors in the UK. Simpler versions can be fitted on internal doors.

Mortise Latch

Similar to the mortise lock but it is a latch mechanism so does not lock. For more information click on our blog post What is a mortise lock or latch?

Multi Point Lock

This is a key operated system that bolts the door into the frame at various points and provides excellent security.

Nickel Plate

A thin durable layer of nickel deposited, usually on brass, by a process of electrolysis. The finish is usually polished silver but can also be supplied with satin finish or antiqued. This finish does not require too much cleaning, simply wipe with either a microfibre cloth or wash in soapy water and wipe. Plated finishes must never be rubbed hard to cleaned with an abrasive polish. Ideal for sea air. Nickel and Nickel Plate , Nickel & Chrome Plating – A brief history.

Norfolk Latch

A Norfolk Latch is a traditional method of closing a door, most usually fitted on a ledge and braced door (also known as a cottage door or planked door)and usually made in iron. It works in the same way as a Suffolk Latch (see below under S) but has a flat backplate to to protect the door from scuffs and finger marks.

Powder Coated Finish

A term used when you are shopping for black ironmongery. A black finish which is applied and baked in a high temperature oven giving it an attractive, durable and corrosion resistant finish which is low maintenance. Ideal for external use. For more information click here Iron Door Furniture – Powder Coated Finish

Rim Lock

A traditional surface mounted box which takes a door handle or a door knob. They can have a latch and a lock with a key or a snib type bathroom lock. Often in black iron or brass they can be totally plain or quite decorative. These are not insurance graded if used on an external door.

Rim Latch

A traditional surface mounted box which takes a door handle or a door knob. These only have a latch mechanism and no lock. For more information click on our blog posting What is a Rim Lock or Rim Latch?

Rim Lock/Latch – Flanged/Unflanged

An unflanged rim lock or latch is square on its edges and a flanged rim lock has a lip or border around the edge.

Shutter Bar

A metal bar which spans the width of the window shutters attaching to the frame. It provides additional security.


The metal bar which runs through the lock or lacth mechanism and links the two door knobs or door handles. A modern standard spindle is 8mm. Some are simple plain bars and some have threads or holes to secure the bar to the door knobs.

Suffolk Latch

A Suffolk Latch is a traditional method of closing a door, most usually fitted on a ledge and braced door (also known as a cottage door or planked door)and usually made in iron. Click on the link to our article Suffolk Latches

Taylors Spindle

Is used where only one door knob is to be fitted and it needs to be fixed in place ie it is not required to turn. The Taylor’s spindle is screwed to the door and fixes the knob in position so it cannot turn. It can then be used as a pull.

Wax Finish

The beeswax finish is applied to our black ironmongery items. Items are forged in steel and then pure beeswax is applied. This preserves the lovely colours and textures in the handforged steel. This offers excellent protection to items being used internally. We also sell a maintenance wax if required. Click here for a blog article Iron Door Furniture Beeswax Finish

Unlacquered Brass

All our brass door furniture is just as our forebears produced it, without lacquer. Unlacquered brass will tarnish naturally and assume a natural patina. To keep it shiny it requires polishing regularly with a brass polish.To suit our modern lifestyle most modern brass is coated with a protective layer of clear lacquer after polishing. This is then maintenance free shiny brass. Beware, the catch is that the lacquer will breakdown over time with the effects of weather and handling. If you live by the sea it will perish faster. Once this goes you are left with an item with unsightly black marks which you cannot clean. This is often a sign of cheap brassware. Click on our article Unlacquered or Lacquered Brass?

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