History of the Humble Hinge

By Martin Hart on Thu 05 March 2020

We pride ourselves on the quality and range of our Blum hinges, with time and care dedicated to each product. However, did you know that metal hinges have been in the making for over five thousand years?

Ancient Hinges

Throughout the planet, evidence of the existence of hinges through history is wise spread. Across Africa, Asia and Europe there is evidence of early bronze door hinges, believed to have held large protective gates which guarded the glorious structures and enormous palaces of the time. Due to the large cost of the labour-intensive material it was popular with emperors and people of power who wished to display their wealth. It was commonplace for the poorer people of the time to have a house with no doors, and if they did, they quite often had no hinges at all.

Hinges weren’t made exclusively for doors; they were also required in clasps for jewellery and other such items, with the production of hinges increasing exponentially with the spread of the knowledge of metallurgy and the creation of metal alloys such as brass.


Medieval Hinges

In the Medieval period, hinges weren’t exclusive to the rich and powerful, they became more of an everyday object amongst the more common folk of the era. Local blacksmiths became skilled at creating wrought iron hinges and tools, so much so that they became affordable. The upper class still used the hinges, of course, with evidence of their existence still visible in the remains of castles across Europe. Due to the nature and size of the oak doors which would stretch across the facade of such constructions, these hinges needed to be rather large and load-bearing; to operate a drawbridge, for example.


Victorian Hinges

The hinge became more and more ever present with the onset of industrialisation and the increasing presence of steam power allowing for a manufacturing boom. The cost of hinge-production fell, and  with the introduction of numerous mechanical advances, complex hinges could be manufactured at a much faster rate at a percentage of the cost. As such, innovation became more common, meaning the 19th century saw the introduction of many different hinge styles such as neater finishes, smoother opening and the introduction of ball bearings.


Present Day Hinges

With the introduction of technology that early hinge-makers could only dream of, the present day has seen the invention of innumerable types of hinges which don’t simply clasp a door in place. Springs have been incorporated, as well as systems which allow doors to slide in two different directions, as opposed to simply opening and closing.

As well as hinge innovation, other corrosion resistant protective measures have been introduced, meaning that the hinges can experience a level of longevity that they previously did not, and as a result money can be saved through reduction in the cost of depreciation. Besides the need for replacing the hinges, manufacturing of them has soared and allows for the everyday purchase of them; available for sale in specialist high street shops and online at stores like our Blum store at a fraction of the price they have previously cost.

A quick glance around the room will indicate the modern-day prevalence that hinges have, seeing them used in innocuous objects like their primary use for doors, to their presence in military, computing and aerospace technologies.

Where would we be without the hinge? Its presence and importance in developing technologies seemingly unrelated to the hinge, is so widespread that we certainly take them for granted. At Hart Wholesale we understand the importance of not only the hinge, but the need for one of the highest quality. However, with our hinges being of the highest quality, we still feel you should be able to get them at the most reasonable of price; so if you are looking for hinges for your house, or for a current project, we have a range of hinges to deal with even the most niche of situations. So contact us on 01702 614044 and one of friendly team will be more than happy to help.


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