History of the Hardware

History of the Hardware

Three Maples Trading Company is a distributor of fine handmade hardware. Hardware that evokes the look and feel of antique, because it is made using many of the same techniques used to make the originals, 2-400 years ago.

When the Colonies were first founded, British law made it necessary that all manufactured goods be bought from Colonial sources. The American colonies were not legally allowed to produce manufactured goods like hardware. Most of that was made in England using small handmade facilities, manned by craftsman, whose secrets of manufacture were protected by proprietary guilds. Over time the American colonies began to make their own, but if you are looking to replace the hardware in your 1600 to 1750 colonial house, it was probably originally English made. Even after 1750 much of the hardware was still made in England, and imported.

During this same period houses were crafted by master carpenters to fit the owners needs. No two beams, planks or joists were the same. This is called “Make to Fit”, and characterizes early houses. Later the techniques changed with the advent of sawed dimensional lumber. Houses slowly began to be “made to rule” as standards of size emerged. Most houses have rooms and sections from differing eras, as a result of the way they were built and then modified. Our house has sections from 1700, 1750, and 1820. Over the years the variation, and quirky differences in this old house have defined how special it is. There is no such thing as a level, square and perpendicular surface. Carpentry is slow, and all pieces need to be made to fit. But that is part of its endearing appeal. Ideally, the hardware should match the style. However, finding affordable hardware has been very difficult.

Today, there are US and English craftsmen who can make fine hardware, but at a high end price. Three Maples has found a source that still uses the same age-old techniques to manufacture their line of hardware. These craftsmen can offer you brand new hardware, with all the quirky and uneven marks and dimensions that only handmade can offer. The same characteristics that define a fine antique home. Our hardware can be offered at a competitive price to meet any budget. Now you can have the wonderful look and feel of handmade, but at an affordable price.