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The History of Hinges and Their Uses

We often take many of the everyday objects around us for granted. Some of these are modern inventions, while others have histories dating back thousands of years. One such object with a remarkably long history is hinges.

Let’s look at how hinges were developed and used throughout history.

First Hinges

One might assume that hinges are a relatively recent invention. However, archeologists have been uncovering hinges that date back thousands of years. Such discoveries are so common that it’s impossible to tell exactly when and where the first hinges were developed and used.

Hinges from 1600 B.C

The earliest known pivot hinges date back to approximately 1600 B.C. These were found as wooden doors pivoting from stone sockets in Hattusa, which is in modern day Turkey. This is among the first evidence of hinges being used to make large objects movable. Hinges have undergone many changes and iterations in the centuries that followed. However, the rate of advancements was relatively slow until much later.

Hinges in Old Testament

Hinges have also been mentioned in the Old Testament. They are described as part of King Solomon’s temple, which would make them from around 970 and 931 B.C.

Hinges from 760 B.C

Hinges have also been found in Egyptian ruins dating back to between 760 and 650 B.C. Such hinges were believed to have been used on doors in Egyptian households. However, since metal was difficult and expensive to manufacture at the time, hinges could be acquired only by the wealthy.

Roman Hinges

The Roman empire was known for being at the forefront of technological advancement. They developed improved hinge systems, many of which we still see today. They used hinges for large public structures. However, they also introduced them for many household applications such as doors, drawers, and cabinets.

Many roman armour pieces also contained hinges to improve flexibility and mobility. In-fact, the Romans also had a Goddess dedicated to door-hinges named Cardea.

Hinges from the Middle Ages

Metalwork advances also made the production of metal hinges easier during the Middle Ages. This was when iron wrought hinges were produced in large quantities. Such hinges were used to bear the load of the large doors in castles. Many of these hinges are still visible in old castles scattered around Europe.

Hinges from the 16th Century

Major hinge advancements were also made during the 16th century in English colonies. This was when different reinforced metals were utilized in the creation of strong hinges that could support large weights.

Early American colonists in Jamestown used hinges for a wide range of everyday applications. They used them for heavy wooden lids on top of food containers, window openings, and cabin doors.

They imported these hinges regularly from English colonies where they were produced. Many of these were created by blacksmiths, who would create hardware for colonists. Hinges were actually one of the items blacksmiths of the era produced most commonly.

Hinges in the Victorian Era

Industrialization accelerated greatly during the Victorian era. This saw the rise of machines that featured many moving parts and therefore required hinges. Many complex hinge types were developed in 19th Century America due to this reason. These were designed to give machines more speed and precision.

One notable innovation during this era was the introduction of ball bearings. Hinges that were designed with ball bearings could be opened more smoothly, and therefore proved to be very popular. The ball-bearing hinge design was patented by Stanley’s Bolt Manufactory in 1899. This company later became StanleyWorks, whose modern iteration is Stanley Black and Decker.

Hinges from the 20th Century

Many hinge advancements also came about due to war. Certain historical civilizations that used catapults relied on hinges for these weapons to work.

War in the 20th century also saw the advancement of several hinge types. However, they also gained popularity in many everyday uses. For example, special hinges were designed that allowed doors to swing in both directions. Other hinges were created to help early phones snap shut and open.

Ease of manufacturing also enabled different companies to create decorative hinges for homes. They also experimented with making hinge joints from different types of metals. Some tried coating them in different compounds to improve their corrosion resistance in marine applications.

Modern Day Hinges

Many may be surprised to learn how far hinges have come. These seemingly simple objects are part of objects we interact with everyday. Modern hinge manufacturers create a variety of hinges, each of which are suited for different purposes. Some modern hinge types include:

Will Hinges Ever Become Obsolete?

As you can see, hinges have played an important role for many civilizations throughout history. One may wonder if these objects will ever become obsolete due to technological advancements.

At this point in time, hinges are still essential for most mechanical objects with swinging parts. In fact, cutting-edge innovations such as foldable smartphones rely on hinges to work.

They are a core component of our cabinets, doors, and windows. Therefore, they aren’t likely to go out of style anytime soon.

Where Can I Find High Quality Hinges?

After learning about the wide variety of hinges out there, you may be wondering where you can find high-quality door hinges or cabinet hinges. The right hinge can make life much easier for homeowners, so you should always strive to go for the best options out there.

At Hinge Outlet, we offer a large variety of hinges for different applications. You can see our selection of hinges at our online store. If you require assistance with choosing the right hinge for your needs, please get in touch with us. One of our experts will be happy to guide you with the selection process.

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