|Suffolk latch with no |
thumb piece and
Sturbridge Village, MA
One type of door hardware found in historic homes is the Suffolk latch. Suffolk latches were a type of door hardware commonly used in 17th and 18th century New England homes. The name comes from their origination in Suffolk, England but came to be more broadly used as the generic name for the latch.
|17th Century Meetinghouse,|
Simsbury Historical Society, Simsbury, CT
Variations include a single cusp version with the cusp on the top and a dominant cusp version, again on top, where the dominant and lesser cusps are not symmetrical.
The door handles were made from wrought iron by blacksmiths. Many early Suffolk latches were imported to the colonies from England. Later they were made by local blacksmiths.
In his book A Building History of Northern New England, James L. Garvin says that the more elaborate and unusual a Suffolk latch was the more likely it was to be locally made.
Suffolk latches started to fade in popularity in the early 1800s as the new Norfolk latch style took over. When exploring for Suffolk latches in your home be sure to check for signs that the latch was hand wrought and not a later reproduction.
|Painted over Suffolk latch,|
West Simsbury, CT
|Suffolk Latch, |
Peak House, Medfield, MA
Cummings, Abbott Lowell. The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1979.
Garvin, James L. A Building History of Northern New England. Hanover: University of New England Press, 2001.
Howard, Hugh. How Old is This House? New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989.
Howell, Rlene L. "Craftsmanship in Wrought Iron," The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Nov. 1950), pp 83-86.