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Suffolk Latch

Suffolk latch, Linden Place, Bristol, RI

By the early 1700s. iron latches were common in America; many were imported, primarily from England, but local blacksmiths soon produced well-made examples. These hand-wrought iron latches are known as Suffolk latches (now a generic term, but initially it identified latches from the Suffolk region England)....

The fiev pieces of a typical Suffolk latch were hammered out by blacksmiths;

  • the curved grasp,
  • the thumb latch (which has a thumb press are one end and protrudes at the other),
  • the latch bar,
  • the keeper
  • and a staple (or "retainer") which holds the latch against the door.

The flattened-out ends (called "cusps") of the grasp were offen hammered into attractive shapes. By far the most prevalent shape was the "bean," but heart-, spade-, and diamond-shaped cusps were not uncommon.

Cotton, J. Randall. "Knobs & Latches".Old House Journal, November/December 1987, pp. 37-43.

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