Good hardware can make everything from dressers to cabinets look so much more stylish. While it's easier than ever before to find cool hardware, authentic period hardware can be difficult to sort from the reproductions. Though there's nothing wrong with a repro in many cases, sometimes you just want the character that a real piece of vintage or antique hardware brings to a project. Here are just a few of our favorite sources for the real thing:
Olde Good Things, multiple locations
You can easily lose a day browsing the website of everyone's favorite salvage source (just look at those great doorknobs, above). What's great about their site is the ease of search: Just check boxes to filter by period, origin, style and more. Want to see a favorite piece in person? Filter by location to see if it's near one of Olde Good Things' NYC, Scranton or Los Angeles shops.
The Old House Parts Company, 1 Trackside Drive, Kennebunk, Maine 04043
The website might be a little bit low-tech, but the selection is very good. The inventory is a mix of old and very old, and reflects the passion founder and owner Tom Joyal has for craftsmanship. Be sure to visit the brick-and-mortar location, a 11,000-square-foot freight warehouse dating back to 1872 that also functions as a museum of salvage.
Hinge Vintage Hardware, 1506 N. Orange Blossom Tr. Orlando, FL 32804
You can find a pristine Bakelite pull or midcentury bails at this well-stocked shop. The finds here are truly impeccable, with 80-90% of inventory consisting of new old stock and basically all eras represented (all the way back to the 1700s). Only a fraction of the shop's inventory is online, so definitely make plans to visit in person. Select pieces are also available on Hinge's Etsy shop.
Historic House Parts, 528-540 South Ave. Rochester, NY 14620
From humble wood knobs to elegant opalescent glass, there's something for everyone at this website. While there are new pieces on the site, the antique category is well-defined. What we also like about Historic House Parts is that there are many budget-friendly options to be found, especially when buying knobs as a set.
Robinsons Antiques [online only]
Though it's a no-frills website, a little patience yields you plenty of treasures at this online shop. The selection ranges from 1680-1925, with every purchase guaranteed to be authentically old. The customer service is also thoughtful, with the company going as far as to help you match hardware to your antique furniture.
The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques, 2311 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Architectural salvage has been a specialty of this DC standby since 1981. While you don't have the ability to make immediate purchases through their website, you can search the inventory (the selection is primarily focused between 1870-1940) and give them a call to complete your purchase.
Architectural Antiques, 1330 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
25,000-square-feet of vintage and antique finds await you at this warehouse, which has everything from giant early American solid bronze bells to servant call boxes from 1905. As far as hardware goes, the assortment is eclectic but seemingly focused on the late-19th and early-20th century. If you can't make it up to Minneapolis, shop online through their website or via Etsy.
Liz's Antique Hardware, 453 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
The online outpost of this Los Angeles shop offers a mix of antique, vintage, reproduction and contemporary pieces. The website does have a good selection, though it does require a bit of patience to navigate. While you're browsing, take a peek at the gorgeous lighting options.