One of the features that initially sold us on our little bungalow was its incredibly intact stained woodwork. And while the wainscoting, box beams and pocket doors made us swoon, we especially loved the built-ins sprinkled throughout the house. Pretty AND practical – what’s not to love, right?
Viewed from the front, it’s not the most exciting piece of hardware I’ve ever seen, but I’ve always thought that the interior latch is especially funky and unusual-looking:
It finally occurred to me the other day to see if the latches bear any sort of imprint. So I opened our china cabinet, looked at the little latch I’ve used dozens of times (without ever really paying attention), and lo and behold: a stamp!
As you can see, it says “Francis Keil and Son New York.” Intrigued, I set out to learn a bit about Francis Keil and Son.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to dig up too much information about the hardware itself, although I did find several references to a large Keil hardware factory building in Brooklyn. But then I stumbled upon the following posting on a random hardware forum:
My great-great grandfather was Francis Keil. He owned Francis Keil & Sons (Bronx, NY). I am trying to put together a collection of his work. If anyone has any information on where I might find any hardware, keys, etc. from him, please email me and let me know. Thank you in advance for your help. Greg Keil
The email address listed was no longer valid (the post itself was several years old) but thanks to the power of Google (is that a trademarked phrase, because if it isn’t, maybe it should be!) I was able to track down Francis Keil’s great-grandson. We exchanged a couple of friendly emails and I ended up sending him some photos of his great-grandfather’s work.
How cool is the Internet?