exceptional original c. 1880's antique american ornamental cast bronze "hummingbird" drum-shaped figural residential doorknob with finely cast detail and nicely aged surface patina


original and intact antique american ornamental cast bronze metal "hummingbird" figural doorknob. manufactured by the russell & erwin co., new britain, ct. the highly collectible doorknob dates to between 1880-1886. the crisp detailing in deep relief is most impressive and the recessed area between the raised rim contains additional figural and floral embellishment. the spread-winged hummingbird is striking, both in design and casting execution. original surface patina. the metallic compression casting company manufactured "house trimmings", such as knobs, hinges, escutcheons, bell pulls, along with dies for printing wall paper, and for bookbinders, and a variety of articles. the inventions of charles and michael smith, introduced with complete success into practical operation by the metallic compression casting company at their foundry in bomerville, near boston, revolutionized metallurgic art, so far as casting is concerned. by employing the patented process developed by smith and mason, metal was taken from the mould, not with a rough surface, as in all the heretofore known modes of casting, but as smooth and perfectly finished as a coin or medal struck by a die. the doorknob is part of the len blumin collection purchased outright by urban remains. all of the figural doorknobs were used in blumin's early 1980's book, "victorian decorative art: a photographic study of ornamental design in antique doorknobs." little is actually known or documented about this short-lived company. catalogs containing product and the like have yet to be found. the hardware giant russell & erwin company quickly recognized this market and soon after became sole agents for their hardware. numerous design patents were secured by both the metallic compression casting company and russell & erwin in 1870. some of the most sought after doorknobs (e.g., "lion" and "dog") were designed and patented by ludwig kreuzinger for the metal compression casting and/or russell erwin mfg. nearly all of the patented designs quickly appeared in russell & erwin's builders' hardware catalogs soon after. by 1872 the struggling metallic compression casting company filed for bankruptcy (district courts of the united stated, massachusetts district) and russell & erwin absorbed the company, including their foundry located outside of boston. the metallic compression casting company was dissolved. the doorknobs containing the "boston" marking on the backside (see cover image) of the doorknob - surrounding the shank - was likely apart of the company's original inventory - prior to russell & erwin's involvement in 1869-70.
UR #:: UR-27565-18