Thank you! I’d just like to thank all the people who helped me get here…..

September 4th, 2013

Following on from their success appearing alongside Rory Kinnear in the stage production of Hamlet at the Olivier Theatre in 2010 our 670.1201 Shutter Bars will be making their screen debut in the Warner Brothers production of “In The Heart Of The Sea”, a nineteenth century whaling drama directed by Ron Howard and starring Brendan Gleeson.

670.1201 Shutter Bar from Conquest Architectural Ironmongery

670.1201 Shutter Bar – part of a range of shutter fittings from Conquest Architectural Ironmongery

Appearing with them in a supporting role will be our 674.1202 Shutter Fasteners. This is their first venture in to the world of stage & film but we are pretty confident that they will put on a masterful performance.

674.1202 Shutter Fastener from Conquest Architectural Ironmongery

674.1202 Shutter Fastener – part of a range of shutter fittings from Conquest Architectural Ironmongery

The products were packed off to the studios for rehearsals at the Warner brothers studios in Leavesden earlier this week. We hope that this exposure will lead to many more active roles for these products as their natural talents are very often overlooked and underated. They will certainly be in good company as this was the site for most of the filming for the Harry Potter movies.

In other celebrity ironmongery news another of our products has hit the big time with a prominent role in the up coming NBC drama “Crossbones”, a fictionalised account of the life of the notorious pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and starring John Malkovich. Our 371.1203 Large Ring Door Knocker has just been shipped off to the production studios in Peurto Rico where, we suspect, it may decide to stay even after filming has finished.

371.1203 Heavy Ring Door Knocker in Black Antique Iron Finish

371.1203 Heavy Ring Door Knocker in Black Antique Iron Finish

Not A Lot Of People Know That….

May 14th, 2013

….we don’t just sell ironmongery fittings for doors and windows.

Whilst it is true to say that our architectural ironmongery products probably account for about 99% of all the items we stock we are certainly not limited to those products alone.

Many of our suppliers are old established British manufacturers with large back catalogues of often hard to get but sought after products which we also promote to add those finishing touches around the home and, over the next few weeks, I will be featuring these products on this blog.

To start things off, how many of you realised that we had a limited range of hanging lamps and wall lights to compliment our antique black iron and hand forged ranges for period homes and restoration projects.

The external rated hanging lamps are an excellent choice for positioning around walled gardens, patios and conservatories and the external walls of period properties. Use of the ceiling rose available as an option also make them an ideal choice for use in the porch. With the correct wiring (and additional equipment available through your electrician) they can also be converted to act as security lighting.

802.1203.XX Antique Black Iron External Hanging Lamp

802.1203.XX Antique Black IronExternal Hanging Lamp with Wall Bracket. Also available with Corner Bracket or Ceiling Rose.

Our small range of External Hanging lamps are beautifully crafted in Britain using only the finest quality Whiteheart Malleable Iron  brackets and cages complimented by solid brass bulb holders and clear flutted glass shades

802.1201.XX Antique Black Iron External Hanging Lamp

802.1201.XX Antique Black Iron External Hanging Lamp with Wall Bracket. Also available with Corner Bracket or Ceiling Rose.

In addition to our External Lamps we also supply a couple of Interior Wall Lights manufactured from the same high quality materials and expertly finished by British craftsmen. These will add a touch of authentic period style to interiors and have been used very successfully in better quality hotel and pub bar areas.

801.1202.00 Antique Black Iron Double Wall Light

801.1202.00 Antique Black Iron Double wall Light. 801.1201.00 Single Wall Light Also available

As stated, these products are exceptional quality products that really do need to be seen to fully apreciate the workmanship that has gone in to their creation. They should certainly not be confused with the cheaper poor quality imitations available from other suppliers.

You can see the full range at www.blackironmongery.co.uk.

We May Not Know Everything…..

April 29th, 2013

….but we’ll make every effort to find out.

Double Pivoting Easy Clean Window Strap Hinge

Easy Clean Strap Hinge

Having found our Black Ironmongery web site on the internet a customer sent this image of a hinge fitted to windows on a house that he is refurbishing and asked if we could supply anything similar or if we knew if it was still in production. He had been searching the internet for quite a considerable time but had, thus far, drawn a complete blank. Before finding us he contacted various other ironmongery suppliers all of whom had either not responded to him or had advised that they were unable to help.

The property in question was built in the 1930’s and is an example of the Tudor style houses that filled British suburbia between the two wars (sometimes disparagingly referred to as Jacobethan, Stockbrocker Tudor or Wimbledon Transitional by some modernist architects of the time).

The image shows a cast iron strap hinge that is pivoted on both the upright frame end and also at the end of the strap on the window. It also transpires that there is a clip at the frame end of the strap fixed to the window which holds the two straps together for normal use. This is disengaged to allow opening of the window as shown.

It is actually quite a practical design in that it allows the window to be position over the opening with the external face facing in. If you haven’t quite worked it out yet this means that the outside face of the window can be cleaned easily from inside the room. This is a great idea for windows above ground floor as the need to shinny up ladders with a bucket in your hand becomes redundant.

The chances are it would have been called something like a “Double Pivoted Easy Clean Strap Hinge” but that is pure speculation.

Under normal circumstances we are often able to locate replacements for existing hinges (even older patterns) or can provide suitable alternatives in keeping with the style of the property – for example we supply a range of cast iron butt hinges that are manufactured to traditional English sizes of the Victorian era.

However, I can honestly say that, in all my years in the ironmongery trade, I have never come across a hinge anything like the type in the image. My first thought was that it may have been designed and manufactured exclusively for the original window manufacturer as this was, and still is, sometimes the case. In addition, such a hinge would need to be manufactured in fairly large quantities to be cost effective and it is quite plausible that, due to the increased use of metal framed windows at the time, it became unviable and production ceased.

With the above scenarios being highly probable and faced with the fact that none of my contacts in the trade had ever seen or heard of a hinge like it I was regretably forced to advise the customer that the chances of finding suitable replacements were less than zero.

As it turns out, there are quite a few properties near to him that still have many of these original hinges in situ. It also turns out that some of these properties are in the process of, or will be in the near future, having replacement windows fitted. If his neighbours are willing he says he should be able to obtain enough originals to do the job with some spare. There is a good lesson here if you are carrying out a restoration project and are looking for original features.

Now, it is probably fair to say, and people who know me would agree, that I am a bit geeky when it comes to ironmongery related topics. Not wanting to be totally beaten I decided to do a bit more research to try and find out where these hinges had originated. After a not inconsiderable amount of time trawling the internet I think I may have found the answer.

It turns out that this particular hinge type, or at least a modified version, was invented by a certain Hubert Parkin Smith, a Merchant of 69 High Street Sockton-on-Tees and an application for patent was approved and accepted on December 18, 1919. The original description and drawings etc can be found through the following links:

First page of the original patent application.

Original drawing.

Abstract of the application.

Whilst the hinge was described in detail I couldn’t find anywhere in the patent application that Mr Smith had given it a descriptive name. In his memory I will therefore refer to it as a “Smith’s Patented Double Pivoted Easy Clean Strap Hinge”.

 

What On Earth Were They Thinking!

April 20th, 2013

I was contacted today, out of the blue, by a surveyor acting for one of their clients who, it turns out, is fairly local to us.

They had contacted me to ask my opinion as to the suitablility of hinges and door closers that had been supplied by another ironmongery company (as yet unknown) on a project that had been completed less than 3 years ago and that the client had been experiencing problems with ever since.

I was given the weights and dimensions of the doors and, upon asking the nature of the building concerned, was told the doors were situated in one of the local colleges. These were the doors leading on to the corridors from the stairwells and were in a high traffic environment.

All of the doors were fire doors with some being rated 30 minute (FD30) and some 60 minute (FD60) – all were 2040mm high.The FD30 doors were 1275mm wide and weighed 57Kg including ironmongery fittings. The FD60 doors were 1200mm wide and weighed 96Kg including ironmongery.

According to the information that the surveyor had all of the doors had been hung on three 100mm x 75mm Ball Bearing Butt Hinges to BS EN 1935 Grade 13, positioned top, middle and bottom and a Rack & Pinion Overhead Door Closer with Slide Arm and Backcheck to BS EN1154 Size 3. Having been told the manufacturer of both the hinges and the closers I would guess that the hinges cost little more than £2.50 each and the door closer roughly £50.00. It is also important to note that none of the hinges had been fitted with intumescent material (an absolute must on fire rated door sets).

Now, it does not take a rocket scientist to work out that the hinges, the positioning of the hinges and the size and type of door closer are totally inadequate for the sizes, weights and through traffic of the doors.  It actually takes a competent, qualified ironmonger.

Starting with the door closers, as mentioned these were a Rack & Pinion type BS EN1154 Size 3 Closer with Slide Arm. As any competent ironmonger knows, a size 3 closer is suitable for internal doors up to 900mm wide only. It should also be noted that a rack and pinion type door closer when fitted with a slide arm will loose efficiency during it’s closing cycle and, most importantly, over the last few degrees. Even if the door closers had been of the correct power size for the door widths, the reduced efficiency of the slide arm would still have meant that the closers would struggle to return the doors to the fully closed position and to keep them there especially with adverse air pressure on the closing face – not a good scenario in the event of a fire.

The correct type of door closer for both the FD3o and FD60 doors should have been either one of the following:

  • a) Rack & Pinion Overhead Door Closer BS EN1154 Size 6 with Figure 1 Fixing Standard Scissor Arm Set and Backcheck – approx cost £120.00
  • b) Cam Action Overhead Door Closer BS EN1154 Size 6 with Pull Side Side Arm & Channel and Backcheck – approx cost £150.00 (Cam Action Door Closers with Slide Arms do not loose efficiency and would be an ideal choice for a college environment due to the reduced risk of vandalism or abuse by burly teenage lads).

Now for the hinges. A Grade 13 hinge is suitable for doors up to 120Kg and with a high volume of traffic. “Hang on a minute” I hear you say. “Even the heavy FD60 doors are only 96Kg so the hinges fitted must be suitable, right?” Well, in theory I suppose they could… NO THEY ARE NOT! And here is why:

The weight carrying capacity of hinges is based on doors no larger than 2000mm high by 1000mm wide. If you recall, our doors are from 1200mm to 1275mm wide. This increased mass causes increased force on the hinges fitted which needs to be accounted for in a reduction of the mass of the door that each hinge has to carry. There is a method used in the industry to calculate this extra side load which I will note bore you with now but if we take the 1200mm door widths as our example we need to increase the actual weight of the door by 33%. You can see then that on a 96Kg door this takes the adjusted weight to over 120Kg without any other considerations.

We also need to adjust the weight due to the increased force at the head of the door due to the action of the door closers. For standard door closers with no backcheck facility the calculated weight needs to be increased by 20%. For door closers with a backcheck facility the increase is far greater being 75%.

A final adustment should then be made for the degree of use that the doors will be subjected to: Light Use – 10%, Extra Heavy Use + 10%.

Taking all of these points in to consideration we actually end up with adjusted door weights of 154Kg for the FD30 Doors (up from 57Kg) and 246Kg for the FD60 Doors (up from 96Kg). We can see from this then that a hinge designed for doors 120Kg would be unsuitable for both door types.

We have suggested that the FD30 doors be fitted with hinges to BS EN1935 Grade 14 (160KG) and the FD60 doors require a hinge capable of carrying 250Kg. Approximate costs will be £15.00 each and £35.00 respectively. Whilst the weight carrying capacity of hinges is calculated on the basis of fitting 3 hinges it should also be noted that the hinges we have suggested would be very close to their maximum capacity. For this reason we have recommended that 4 hinges are fitted. Ideally they should be fitted two at the top and two at the bottom which is the best position on wider doors and those fitted with with door closers. However, as these will be replacing the existing hinges they will need to be fitted two top, one middle and one bottom. AND ALL WITH INTUMESCENT MATERIAL.

If you look back at the prices for the items I have suggested you will notice that they are substantially more expensive than the items currently in situ. However, there is a simple explanation for this in that they are properly specified and suitable for their intended use and will continue to work with little maintenece required for at least the next 20 years.

If you would like any advice on the correct ironmongery to use for any given project wether it be residential, commercial, industrial of educational please do not hesitate to contact me through our web site at www.blackironmongery.co.uk

 

The Bar’s the Star

September 29th, 2010

We are proud to announce that our Shutter Bars will be appearing alonside Rory Kinnear in the Royal National Theatre’s new production of Hamlet at the Olivier Theatre this coming October.

Get Out’a Here

February 3rd, 2010

This is a polite notice to anyone thinking of using this blog as a linking platform to irrelevant web sites. Don’t waste your time! Your comments will be removed and marked as spam.

British Made? That’s an outrageous claim.

October 7th, 2009

We couldn’t believe our eyes this morning.

Having a snoop around one of our competitors web sites we noticed what can only be described as totally false & misleading claims as to the country of origin of many of the items in one of their product ranges.

The web site concerned is www.handles4doors.co.uk and the range in question is Prima Antique Brass.

Now, we have nothing against them promoting this range with the use of phrases such as “unique antique finish” (although we would have to ask in what way is it unique) and “skilled finishing process”, and we don’t even mind if they use words like “quality” (remember, though, that you can’t make a sows purse from a pigs ear). We could, indeed, sell exactly the same products from exactly the same source if we wanted to (which we don’t because we value our reputation for supplying quality products).

What we object to in the strongest possible terms is the use of the phrase “British Made” which seems to have been used with gay abandon in many of the product descriptions.

The vast majority of this product range is, in fact, manufactured to dubious quality standards in India (except for a couple of exceptions which are made in Europe). They are shipped to the UK in their normal brass laqcuered finish (which isn’t highly polished despite other claims on the same web site) and are then sent away to be de-lacquered, re-finished and then re-lacquered. Whilst we know that the re-finishing is indeed carried out in the UK, we do not see how the products can then be described as “British Made”.

We have emailed the company concerened asking them to confirm the country of origin of this product range – to date we have not yet received a response.

New Black Ironmongery Shopping Site Finshed (well, almost)

January 30th, 2009

It’s been a long time coming but we have just uploaded our new and improved on line shop for our Black Cast Malleable Ironmongery products. Having done some initial test orders it looks at though it is working without any major problems (we did notice a few spelling errors but these are being rectified as and when we come across them).

We are very pleased wih the final design which has been the result of many months of late nights and early mornings all washed down with copius amounts of strong coffee. We do not use the sevices of any web masters or designers and so we can honestly say that the finished product is all down to our (my) hard work.

Take a look at http//www.blackironmongery.co.uk and send us your comments (which we’ll probably ignore).

It should be noted that we have removed our Hand Forged Ironmongery range from this site as we wanted to dedicate it entirely to our British made Cast Malleable Black Iron products. We are embarking on a new site for our Hand Forged range and this should be up and running in a few months (baring any mishaps, accidents or nervous breakdowns).

Back with more Ironmongery related news as soon as possible.

Hand Forged for River Cottage

December 15th, 2007

We were pleased to have been chosen to supply ironmongery for the new River Cottage HQ in Musbury, East Devon.

Items from our “Works in Iron” Range of Rustic of Hand Forged Ironmongery were selected by Saturn Architects of London to compliment the existing 18th Century fittings.

The products were purchased by Magenta Building Conservation Ltd, specialists in the repair and refurbishment of historical buildings, and included the following:
12 ” Penny End T Hinges
Suffolk Thumb Latches
Cupboard Pull Handles
Cupboard Latches
Door Bolts
H Hinges
and Door Knob Handles

Black Antique Iron – beware of cheap immitations

October 10th, 2007

Cast iron products have been familiar to the general public for many years. However, there are many varieties of cast irons all of which have different properties and applications.

Whiteheart Malleable Iron was and still is the most appropriate material for the production of Black Antique Iron door and window ironmongery fittings. It’s strength and durability qualities help give it the long life you would expect from a quality product.

All of our Black Antique Period Ironmongery products are manufactured in Britain from 100% Whiteheart Malleable Iron and should not be confused with the cheaper cast iron or iron/zinc alloy products that so many of our competitors seem only too willing to pass off as the real thing.

You will find many internet sites offering “Black Antique” products. However, very few of the ranges available are manufactured using the true Whiteheart Malleable Iron process. As a result, these products do not have the style and authenticity of genuine Black Antique Cast Iron products and will not give you the service and lifespan expected.

Before purchasing any of these products you should ask the following questions:

1. Are your products 100% Whiteheart Malleable Iron ?
2. What is the country of origin ? (most of the ranges available are cheap foriegn imports manufactured under dubious working and environmental conditions)

Our Black Antique Ironmongery products have been manufactured by hand in Walsall, West Midlands for over 150 years using the greensand casting process.

After the first stage of production the castings are hard and brittle and cannot be hammered, filed or rivited into finished products. The castings are therefore subjected to a heat treatment process known as Annealing. In this process the castings are surrounded by an inert haematite ore within iron drums and loaded into ovens of six to eight tons capacity. The ovens take about two days to reach the Annealing temperature of 980C. The castings are then soaked at this temperature for around 80 hours after which they are allowed to cool naturally. During this process the carbon structure of the iron is changed. As a result the castings are no longer hard and brittle but soft and malleable.

After shot blasting and grinding to remove any rough edges the castings are assembled into finished or semi-finished products. After assembly a rust proofing finish is applied followed by a two coat paint process.

We hope that the foregoing has been interesting and informative and will help develop a greater understanding of what is involved in the production of traditional hand made British ironmongery.