|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
The fiev pieces of a typical Suffolk latch were hammered out
- 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.