While searching through old barns you can learn about the history and function of items. You also learn a lot about the people who owned them. We briefly mentioned in our last blog that the barn owner’s father loved to keep “stuff”. We didn’t fully understand why until we needed miscellaneous hardware and tools to do minor repairs on some of the antiques we came across. One in particular was the antique Empire Pedestal banquet table that needed replacement screws on the lock mechanism. We found exactly what we needed in the many boxes of hardware.
When we stepped back from our work, we realized that “G.W.E.” (as was stamped on almost every tool) was ahead of his time. You see, GWE was in the construction and deconstruction business. When he had a demolition job he could not bear to let perfectly good items make their way to a landfill. He’d carefully deconstruct the buildings and salvage the usable materials and supplies. One example is a cast iron, Duvinage Spiral Stairs that he pulled from the Baltimore Ohio Railroad station in Philadelphia.
Most recently we found some old barn doors with hardware, lock mechanisms and hinges. They were not easy to find. They were in the very back part of the lower barn where it is dark and dingy with an unwelcoming musky odor. Additionally, there were pieces of lumber and plywood lying up against them and years of soot, dust and debris piled up on them. But with determination and a desire not to overlook an exciting barn find we, correction, I pulled out three fantastic vintage barn doors.
Barn doors come in many sizes and designs but ours were a good size at 48 inches wide and 80 inches tall. The great thing about them was that they all had 6 panels of window on top allowing the sunlight to beam into the barn. This particular model was not antique but vintage. They all were outfitted with the original hardware but did not escaped damage over the years. One of the doors had a separated seam and another had a cracked window. These simple repairs would be well worth the time.
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