About Our Products
At The Brass Knob the merchandise always includes a variety of antique and vintage architectural items as well as many collectibles to help decorate a vintage home or to add charm to a modern interior. Specializing in architectural salvage and ornamental products from the 19th and 20th centuries, the inventory also includes some high quality new products to complete some of antique items so they will be functional. There are also some select previously owned items which are not old enough to be antique or vintage. Located in Washington, DC, the store is well positioned to procure some of the nation’s finest architectural salvage products but because the buyers travel the country there are many items from throughout the US. We have thousands of products many of which are mystery pieces. There are many more pieces that can be photographed and included here. Please call or e-mail if there’s something in particular that you are hoping to find.
Why Choose The Brass Knob For Your Architectural Antique Needs?
Our team of experts have spent decades procuring rare and one of a kind architectural antiques from a variety of eras with architectural styles including Georgian, Colonial Revival, Victorian Rococo, Victorian Eastlake, Mission, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco. With a focus on American antique items and good customer service, everyone at The Brass Knob works with the clients to make sure the items they purchase will be the right item to install in their homes.
Every home needs bath accessories for convenience as well as glamour. At The Brass Knob there is a large selection of antique and vintage accessories which can be used in historic bathrooms or to add charm to new construction and restorations. Included in the inventory are beautiful glass towel bars in many different lengths as well as cup holders, tooth brush holders, soap dishes, bath cabinets and mirrors.
Some of these items come in different materials and different finishes including polished or antique brass, nickel or chrome plated brass, and porcelain. Some items are unique to historic style bath rooms such as soap and sponge holders that fit over the rim of a claw foot tub. After all, how can anyone take a bath without something convenient to hold the soap?
The Brass Knob has a full array of antique brackets that can be used as decorative items or as the supports for shelves, counters and sinks. These vintage brackets come in various materials, most are wood or cast iron, but occasionally they are made of bronze, brass, terra cotta, marble or even plaster.
Many of these brackets date from the late 1880’s to 1920. Some are antique corbel brackets which are the wooden architectural elements mounted below the roof line on some historic buildings. These brackets often have carved details although occasionally the decoration is an early composition of exterior plaster.
Antique cast iron brackets are often works of art with intricate designs of flowers, birds and other decorative motifs. Frequently these brackets are used to support decorative glass or marble display shelves, mantel tops, or in the corners of a door frame to add aesthetic appeal. Cast and wrought iron and well painted wooden brackets can be used on the interior or exterior of a home.
Among the most striking architectural antique details that can be salvaged from an historic home are columns. Columns have been used as decorative and structural features since Ancient Greece and Rome. Many antique columns are round and smooth although they can also be round with fluting. Engaged columns are half columns which are generally only for decoration. Pillars are square structural elements. They can also be fluted, whereas pilasters are half pillars also typically used just for decoration.
There are many different styles of capitals for columns. Classical capitals are generally Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian. Occasionally capitals combine one or more of these styles or orders.
Historic homes often have interior columns used to define the space between one room and another. Antique columns can be repurposed as a free standing decorative element or as a support for a shelf or a doorway. Most of the columns that come into the store for sale are wooden with a painted finish. Occasionally, however, there are some that have never been painted and have an original lacquered wood finish. Occasionally we also get marble or plaster capitals. Some antique columns were manufactured with decorative terra cotta capitals mounted on wood slats that were joined to form a round column.
The hearth is frequently described as the center of the home and the fireplace mantel is the decorative feature that makes the hearth the focal point of a room. In fact, even without a working fireplace, a mantel can be the main architectural aspect of a room. One of the wonderful things about antique fireplace mantels is the variety of styles available. They are often found with intricate classical or Victorian details or with the very simple lines of mission or arts and crafts.
Antique fireplace mantels come in many different styles and materials. Some wooden vintage mantels were originally designed to be painted and others were manufactured with a natural wood finish. They are constructed from many different types of wood; pine, poplar, oak, cherry, walnut, and mahogany are among the materials employed in the construction of antique wooden mantels. Two tiered wooden mantels were often constructed in two parts. The tops of these mantels are overmantels and can be installed independently as shelving, a vintage mirror unit, or a independent decorative element.
Antique marble mantels were made of a number of types of marble in an array of colors and veining. For the home owner who could not afford, or did not want to invest in a marble mantel, slate was used with a faux marble finish. These finishes were done in as many different colors as natural marble and occasionally in colors that did not appear in nature.
In order to complete the aesthetic of a fireplace, as well as to support the actual function, The Brass Knob features an extensive selection of vintage fireplace accessories. From fireplace tools, screens and andirons, Victorian firebacks, surrounds and summer covers, there are accessories to go with every interior and every style of fireplace mantel. The manufacturers of antique mantels understood that not every home had an actual fireplace. For these homes they manufactured antique bookcase units and even the very rare desk constructed in the frame for a vintage mantle.
One of the most popular uses of architectural artifacts is as garden ornaments. Many of these antique architectural pieces were manufactured to fill other architectural requirements. A roof finial becomes a garden sculpture or a piece of intricate cast iron becomes a decorative panel in a wooden fence.
There are, of course, many antique garden pieces that were made to be used in a garden or entrance way. These fountains, statues, urns and benches are generally constructed of cement, marble, lime stone, or cast iron. Like any other art objects these pieces of antique garden art come in a variety of forms and sizes. Figural fountains and statues are particularly desirable. Vintage urns and planters provide a charm that newly manufactured items lack. Some antique cast iron garden art was extremely intricate, especially during the Victorian era.
Beautiful hardware is like jewelry for a home. At The Brass Knob there is a constantly changing inventory of beautiful antique hardware in a large variety of styles and materials. From intricately embossed decorative bronze antique Victorian doorknobs to vintage ceramic knobs in white, black or brown, there are doorknobs for all tastes and interiors. There is an unending variety in vintage hardware.
Many customers are seeking doorknobs that match or blend with their existing hardware and choose vintage knobs in their original finish, while others prefer vintage brass hardware that is buffed to a bright shine as a decorative element in their interiors. The hardware inventory at the Brass Knob includes many different finishes. It is also possible to change a finish if a customer finds the perfect set of antique brass hardware, but wants it to have a different patina. Our staff works with each of our customers to make sure that the hardware they select works well in their specific application.
Frequently customers want to purchase door knobs to be used in non-traditional ways. In our store we sell the hardware that easily transforms an antique doorknob into a hook or a pull. The inventory also includes new hardware items that work with our antique pieces for installation on new doors with pre-drilled holes.
Flowers, volutes, hammering, rope, wrought, cast, twisted are all terms that can be used to describe antique ironwork. Iron artisans fabricated a large variety of styles of fencing, railings, window guards, balusters, newel posts, balconies, screens, roof cresting and gates.
The intricacy of the design depended upon the style of the house and the skill of the artisan. Included in our inventory are pieces of vintage ironwork that date from 1850 to 1920, plus a few well designed previously owned contemporary pieces. These pieces are installed as they were originally used or repurposed to fulfill another structural or decorative requirement.
Antique wrought iron tends to have very fluid designs with swirls and curves, whereas antique cast iron can be fluid or angular. Many people use decorative ironwork as art which can be hung on interior or exterior walls. Ironwork also makes an excellent material to use to fabricate a truly unique table or console base.
Our customers have used antique iron to add decorative interest to new kitchens, gardens, and between rooms to allow light into an interior space, as well as many other creative decorative applications.
Beautiful and unusual chandeliers, sconces, table and floor lamps add elegance and interest to any interior. Featuring a large variety of vintage lighting fixtures including antique chandeliers, antique wall sconces, and vintage floor and table lamps, the Brass Knob has an eclectic display of lighting in many different styles and materials.
Because traditional and modern interiors require many different styles of lighting, the focus of the store is to have a large selection of many styles from which to choose. The styles which are generally included are Victorian gas lighting, late Victorian electric lighting, Art Nouveau lighting, Art Deco lighting, Mission, Arts and Crafts, Colonial Revival lighting, industrial, and some vintage lights that combine more than one style.
The quality of vintage lighting is excellent. However, because electrical parts do wear out over time, all of the lighting in the store is tested for safety and most is rewired with modern UL rated electrical components. One service that is offered is designing custom lighting. This is generally for commercial applications that require multiple lights that are identical or similar in style, since most of our previously owned lighting is one of a kind.
There are many items for sale in The Brass Knob which do not fit into any clear category. The majority of these items are antique or vintage, although occasionally there is a select piece which is previously owned but not old enough to fit into these categories. They are the embellishments which can be added to the interior of an apartment, town house, large home, business office or restaurant to add charm and texture.
This category includes architectural details that are only in our inventory when we find special examples such as doors and stair parts. Among these miscellaneous items are statuary, silver trays , candlesticks, brass plaques, framed art, advertising pieces, wooden fretwork, miscellaneous antique brass, steel, plaster and wooden ornaments and many unidentified antique architectural details.
These items provide hours of entertainment for customers who like to search through buckets and drawers for pieces to incorporate in art projects, jewelry, or to just display on walls and shelves.
The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques carries a wide selection of antique and vintage decorative windows. Our constantly changing inventory generally includes antique stained glass and antique beveled glass windows which date from the 1880 – 1920.
With a wide assortment of sizes, colors and designs, there are vintage windows which will compliment many different styles of interiors from traditional to modern. Most of the antique stained glass windows, as well as the antique beveled and leaded glass windows, in the store are one of a kind items. Occasionally pairs of vintage windows- or matching cabinet doors- are available for projects that require two matching pieces of decorative glass. Antique stained and decorative glass are works of art and should be appreciated for the style and the artistry.
It is rare for vintage decorative windows to be totally pristine, so clients are encouraged to request additional photos of the windows being considered for their interior so they can see any any minor irregularities prior to purchasing and shipping a vintage window.
Antique ceramic tiles are among the most beautiful artifacts that can be salvaged from an historic home. These architectural antiques were used for entire walls in entry foyers and bathrooms, as well as around antique fireplace mantels for decoration and to provide a non-flammable frame for the firebox.
Vintage tiles with hand painted or embossed designs are now extremely collectible, especially those that are considered arts and crafts, or Victorian. Many collectors desire them for the unique designs and the artistry and are particularly interested in tiles that have people or animal figures.
Some manufacturers, such as Rookwood, Minton, American Encaustic and Weller, are well known. Although there were many more companies making exceptional tiles in the United States as well as in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many people purchase tiles to use as wall art and occasionally the more simple designs to use as coasters.
Sets of vintage tiles are particularly desirable, especially hand painted or embossed tiles that form a scene. These were occasionally seen around antique fireplace surrounds. Decorative border tiles can be incorporated into many different types of projects for restorations or new construction.