Our recent discoveries and work in the Cottage parlor (see here) also included maintenance and research on some of the Cottage’s historic door and window hardware. In honor of Preservation Month, our Senior Preservationist, Jeff Larry, discusses his findings. Continued from part 1.
At mortise locks began to appear in England around 1790 but they did not become popular in America until around 1840. Prior to the arrival of mortise locks, doors were generally thinner and received a surface mounted rim lock like the popular Carpenter Lock. When the Cottage was built in 1842, the quality of American made locks, and other hardware components for doors and windows was still questionable and inconsistent. Day, Newell & Daythese were making really good mortise locks.
So, who was Day, Newell & Day?
They took up shop in an 1833 building at 589 Broadway in NYC and despite the occasional fisticuff and raised cane by two of the bickering Day brothers they managed to produce locks that won numerous awards and accolades. But what really got the firm attention was Newell’s 1844 patented Parautoptic Bank Lock and lock picking competitions in England that eventually resulted in them being named special patrons and protectors to her Majesty Victoria’s crown jewels.
And there’s the story of the elder Day…”His son, John Day, took him to the sanitarium, and saw him well placed in a room and the door securely locked as supposed, but when he got home he found the old gentleman sitting contentedly in his accustomed chair.”
For you historic lock nerds there is so much more…