Antique Doorknobs at the Royal Hotel

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antique door knobs grace many of our doors at the Royal Hotel Chilliwack

Door knobs have been in the news lately – yes doorknobs. The City of Vancouver – the only city in Canada with its own building code – has decided “universal design” will take precedent over aesthetics and starting in March 2014 has banned door knobs in all new construction in favor of lever-style handles. For clarification, the Centre for Universal Design defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be useable by all people….without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

For a bit of background, Vancouver City Hall was designed by the architectural firm Townley and Matheson (they also designed many movie theatres; the Paramount Theatre in Chilliwack was one example) and built in 1936. The original brass monogramed door knobs were part of the overall design and aesthetics of the art-deco inspired building. These original knobs that adorned city hall doors for 77 years have already been removed.

To take a peek at the history of the door knob I consulted the Schlage website. The Schlage Company has been in the door knob and lock business since 1920 and according to their website wooden doors and handles first appeared approximately 5000 years ago. Here is a link to their website for a more in-depth look at door knobs.
http://unlock.schlage.com/blog/d35cd546-cee4-4257-aed3-5e9ef69fcd3d/did-you-know-door-knobs-through-history

I wonder how many phone calls the City of Vancouver has received from door knob collectors looking to add these unique art-deco era knobs to their collection? Perhaps the knobs will be displayed at the next convention of the Antique Doorknob Collectors of America to be held in Austin Texas July 23 to 26, 2014. In the event you wish to learn more about the group – here is the link. http://www.antiquedoorknobs.org/AboutUs.htm

At the Royal Hotel in downtown Chilliwack, you will still find original door knobs installed over one hundred years ago when the hotel was built in 1908. In fact, some of the locks are still opened with original skeleton keys. If you are looking for a unique place to stay full of local history and architectural features (like doorknobs and claw-foot bath tubs) the Royal Hotel in historic downtown Chilliwack certainly fits the bill.

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