|Patent 6704, David W. Lyon, Machine for Making
Hinges, No,. 6,704, Patented Sept. 11, 1849. (West Troy, Albany
Co., NY) USPTO
The evidence clearly
shows that in the Colonial period in America the common iron,
house-door hinges were made always of wrought iron until 1776
to 1783, when cast-iron hinges suddenly and universally took their
Cast-iron door hinges, called butt hinges, comparatively small,
compact, book-shaped, mortised into the edges, not set upon the
faces of the door, of the common present type (See Fig. 8), because
of their superior cheapness, came into universal use, no less
suddenly, though a little earlier, than cut nails.
They were invented in England by Izon & Whitehurst, and patented
by British patent No. 1102, October 3, 1775, and were at first
imported. [Messrs. Izon and Whitehurst were located in Birmingham,
and then moved to West Bromwich. Source: Showell's Dictionary
of Birmingham by Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell, page 86.
Also, see W. E. Jephcott, House of Izons. London and Dudley, 1948.]
After the interruption of British trade and house building by
the Revolutionary War, they everywhere superseded the old wrought
hinges, about 1784, after which they appear without significant
exception, on all the dated houses examined by the writer.
Hinges of this shape and name, i. e. butt hinges, of wrought-iron
or brass, and never of cast-iron, had been made before 1775, generally
for closets, or furniture, but none was found by the writer on
room doors, in the houses examined.
Cast-iron butt hinges also show differences and improvements
in construction (not studied closely) after about 1800.
But regardless of these variations and allowing for the above
noted survival of wrought strap hinges on outer doors and shutters,
these cast butt hinges, found upon the original doors of houses,
will date the latter as post Colonial or built after c. 1776-1783.
Dating of Old Houses,
Henry C. Mercer, SC.D., Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1923.