Got a clue? Studying your house for clues to past changes is a theme running through “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.” This is one of the examples shown to illustrate the types of clues one may find.
The left photo shows the evidence of a former box lock on the side door into the original kitchen at Whitten House. Such locks were common in the early 19th century but don’t often survive in place.
After noticing this evidence, I spent years looking for a box lock of the right size and orientation (they are left- or right-handed and are not reversible). Reproduction box locks are available but expensive. I found one of exactly the right size for under $50. It is simple and utilitarian, as I suspect the original would have been. The “catch” was missing (along with the key) but my local blacksmith was able to fabricate a matching catch.
Here the lock and catch are placed temporarily with drywall screws to check the fit. The hardware will be painted black and mounted permanently once the door is repainted.
“Restoring Your Historic House” is an award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book available in bookstores nationwide and from online retailers.
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