Vintage hardware is awesome. I could probably try to find more creative ways to say that, but I figured simpler is better. The bottom line is that vintage hardware, whether it is actually vintage or a well made replica, is a solidly constructed, beautiful piece of an old house.
Vintage hardware has weight and significance to it. Cheap replicas, and run of the mill hardware today feel cheap and weak and they are. Many are made from plastic painted to look like metal or made from such a thin metal that you can bend or break them without much effort.
Patina, that beautiful color of age, is something that can only be attained with time. To me, patina is the test of whether a door knob or sash lock and any other piece of hardware was well made. Fake painted finishes don’t patina, they wear out. Plastics don’t patina. Bronze, now that patinas!
So where can you find the good stuff? Well you’ve got a few options. Some are local and a lot are on the internet. It just depends on what you are looking for. Here are my best sources for quality vintage hardware:
Local Salvage Yards
Architectural salvages yards have a wealth of old house parts and vintage hardware is definitely high on the list. My local stores have a huge variety of hinges, door knobs, entry sets, cranks, pulls, lifts. It’s all there looking for a new old home. These are a great place to find a missing piece of hardware to match what you already have. Do a Google search in your area for architectural salvage or antiques and I’m sure you’ll find a few local options. This will likely be the place to find the best deals.
House of Antique Hardware
This is one of my favorite places to buy vintage hardware replicas. The hardware here is top notch and very hard to discern from the original. Everything is solidly made just like the real stuff. They even have a finish available called “antique-by-hand” which is a living finish that comes with the patina already on it. It’s not a fake painted on finish, but it actually continues to patina like the original stuff. I have switch plate covers with this finish in my own house and they’re fantastic!
What can’t you find on eBay these days? I have bought dozens of reclaimed window pulleys, sash locks, glass door knobs and lots of other vintage hardware on eBay for super cheap. Most of the stuff on here needs to be cleaned up since some homeowner usually just pulled it off their house and is trying to make a few dollars rather than trashing the hardware. This is the place for deals!
You can learn how to clean up old hardware in my posts:
How To: Remove Paint from Hardware.
Van Dyke’s Restorers
Van Dyke’s has a lot of hardware. This website is mostly replicas, but again they are well made replicas. You can find anything from door and window hardware to bath fixtures and chandeliers. There is a lot to find on this website.
This is like an online salvage yard. Historic Houseparts has a pretty big selection of reclaimed original hardware along with replica restoration hardware. Most everything has already been restored for you, but the truly vintage stuff still maintains that awesome patina. There are some hard to find items here and the selection is always changing so if you don’t find what you’re looking for check back often.
Historic Home Hardware
This is a little mom and pop type website that has a good deal of hard to find vintage hardware from the 1880’s to 1950’s. I haven’t ordered from them before, but I check it occasionally if I have a really rare piece that I need to match. I also like that they tell you a little history about each piece they sell. No replicas here, just the real old stuff.
With a name like VintageHardware.com, they better have some old stuff right? Mostly, you’ll find quality replicas here. I’ve found that their selection is a bit smaller and overall less useful than some of the others I have already mentioned, but they have some pieces that I can’t find anywhere else. If you’ve got a weird piece of hardware you’re trying to match and you can’t find it anywhere else, this might be the place.
Kilian hardware is the place I buy my spring bronze weatherstripping, but they also have a lot of other hardware for old homes. Another hard to find item you can get here is sash chain to replace any that may have broken. They have a wide selection. Also items like strap hinges, sash pulleys, door knobs are all here.
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14 thoughts on “Where to Find Vintage Hardware”
Isn’t it amazing how beautiful the back plates are now? I love the Antique Door Handles
excellent post thanks for posting
Thanks for posting these links, I’m seeing a lot of the square plate style hinges with cannonball pin but would you happen to know where to find this style? https://inspectapedia.com/Design/SearsHouses_files/SearsWapFls020DF.jpg
From my understanding they’re from a Sears Roebuck house and/or were able to be ordered as a standalone product from Sears Roebuck. We have quite a few and some that need replacing.
Have you checked out the spearhead collection?
A quality range of unique vintage hardware and home decor products
Please help me get pointed in the right direction , I love old homes and everything vintage . My name is Duncan I resentley bid on a storage that was absolutely filled ten feet wide and fifteen deep with of all things …vintage fence post tops many from era 1904-1953 I love them and would love to donate at least a few hundred to the cause of preservation projects .any ideas please let me know .
Duncan, how amazing! I would start by looking for a local architectural salvage yard or any local historic preservation organization to point you in the right direction.
How can I contact you, to discuss where to find vintage hardware asap
Please lmk and email me
According to me, First you need to check the features of the window products in detail then you have to choose carefully to ensure that you get the right period.
Just be aware that after buying some expensive hardware from Vintage Hardware and Lighting, when I tried to install the pocket door pulls I found that they were warped. Since they are heavy, solid brass and die cast, we could not straighten them and therefore could not install them and have them lay flat on the door. The 30 day return period had passed and I asked for an exception since the product was defective. They told me that was my problem and refused to refund or exchange the product. Too bad old-fashioned good service and “doing the right thing” doesn’t accompany the old-fashioned look. Beware.
Carly, I’ll speak with them about this. Because I don’t want to recommend a company that doesn’t give extraordinary customer service.
While not strictly vintage, Lee Valley Tools has a good selection of vintage style hardware.
Thanks for the nice list! These are awesome! I really love the Vintage hardware – so clever!!!
That’s a good list of resources. I would add local junk shops to the list. I’ve found many quality items in need of some TCL this way. It is not unusual to find vintage doors, windows, trim, hardware, decorative pieces, or tools, depending on the interests of the proprietor and local market.
Habitat Restore is also a well known place to check, though I find it difficult to find vintage hardware at the local store. It may be a little too well known.
Good tip Josh!