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Feb 13 2013

WW: What’s this?

Category: Historical,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 12:09 am Comments (50)

On the right of the photo is the jamb, on the left is the face of the door.

Mystery Hardware

Thanks to Ken Burkimsher of Stanley Security Solutions for the photo!

UPDATE:  Thank you to everyone who left comments…it is a door viewer in an old church door.  It’s called a “pulpit viewer” and it allowed the pastor to look out at the pulpit without being seen.  This one is at the Westminster Chapel in Toronto.  Pretty cool!

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50 Responses to “WW: What’s this?”

  1. Young says:

    It seems like a door view.

  2. Joaquim Monteiro says:

    A periscope for a door, genius!

  3. cda says:

    a door with a hole in it?

    looks like the metal piece is completly flush with the door?

    put a stick through the door to open the door?? or lock it ???

  4. Chuck Park says:

    Was that a knot knocked out of a solid stile, or is that a diagonally bored hole?

    • Lori says:

      It’s a diagonal hole.

      P.S. I’m holding the comments with the answer until later on, so everyone can take a guess.

  5. Safecrackin Sammy says:

    What is an antiquated viewer into a seclusion room type environment to check on a patient or verify their position before the door is unlocked?

    Next we’ll go to the bonus round where the prizes DOUBLE!

  6. dp says:

    The metal strike looks corroded and burned. Does this have anything to do with lasers? Perhaps some type of laser detection when the door has changed positions or opened?

  7. cda says:

    Ok the metal piece is some type of strike plate???

    the hole is a view port?

  8. cda says:

    last guess the metal piece is a spacer for a poor fitting door??

    • Lori says:

      No, but your last guess (not yet approved because I’m holding the correct answers) is very close regarding the hole. The metal part is related to the hole.

  9. dp says:

    Zooming in on the strike it looks like the metal is highly corroded as though by some type of chemical reaction. The wood surfaces do not indicated this except for the hole in the door where it appears to be burned or darkened by something. The coloration and condition of the edges do not appear to be made by simple mechanical interaction (rubbing or abrasion). Right or wrong?

    • Lori says:

      Think antique…when you’re at the flea market there is a household item that often has this wear pattern. It’s not typically from abrasion, the material just had a shorter life span (unlike the same material produced today but no longer used for the purpose in the photo).

      If it makes you feel better, I have never seen one of these and Google has no instances of the name of it. I checked both of my Adon Brownell books and he doesn’t mention it.

  10. MattF says:

    Is it a bullet hole?, the metal piece is… covering damage to the jamb? Civil war musket ball if I have to guess. Yeah… that’s the ticket.

    • Lori says:

      No bullet was involved. The hole was intentionally drilled and the other piece is used with the hole. We have a totally different piece of hardware for the same purpose today.

  11. Jess says:

    looks to me like a diagonal peephole and the metal part is a mirror to see who or whats in the room?? never seen this before


  12. Lori says:

    You’re right Jess…I’m holding off on publishing the correct answers until later.

    Young, Joaquim, and Sammy you’re also right!

  13. MattF says:

    Something similar to a closer or a spring hinge. I’m assuming we are looking at the hinge side. If what we are seeing is the strike side then maybe it is a hitching post of sorts to tie the door shut and “secure it” or for the purpose of a privacy stop – not sure what you call those, like you see on apartments or motels with the chain allows you to open door only partially.

  14. Ken says:

    A slide bolt

    • Lori says:

      Nope, much more creative than that. I’m starting to wonder if these were ever sold commercially since I have found no record of them. It’s not related to locking the door.

  15. Cda says:

    Ok you look through the hole and the metal is suppose to be shiny, so you can see something in front or to the side of the door???

  16. Brent says:

    View port angled toward mirror that has now deteriorated

  17. Michael says:


  18. Mark L says:

    Privacy indicator?

  19. Justin Ritter says:

    Some kind of door viewer? It almost looks like mirrors that are tarnished, and you look through the hole in the door, and see a reflection into (or out of) the room.

  20. Andy L says:

    OK. Let me throw something at it. Based on your last answer, is it a peep hole in the door? the piece on the jamb was a mirror, or shiny piece of polished metal to allow someone to see things on the opposite side of the area from the other side of the door.

  21. Doug says:

    Its a peephole.

  22. Nolan thrope says:

    I think it’s a viewer and a mirror

  23. Charles Pearce says:

    A peephole and a mirror!

  24. MattF says:

    Is the metal piece an angled mirror? Is it a type of door viewer to look into the room?

  25. Dino E Dusi says:

    Was it a place to put a hand carried oil lamp or candle/nite light?

  26. Terry Crump says:

    Based on your last clue, I would guess it’s some sort of peep-sight. Albiet primitive, I guess it would work as long as the mirror is still reflective–and the person outside is of a certain height.
    I admit that I was having trouble figuring it out, because I was assuming the door to open ‘out’–not ‘in’–but it makes sense now.

  27. Dino E Dusi says:

    Is it an early form of a Door Viewer? Is the tin part an early type of Mirror to look thru the hole with out exposing your eye? Weird, I know..

  28. dp says:

    Oh, I get it. It has to do with signage. Looking very close at the metal object I see a small rounded slot at top & bottom which was probably used to hold some type of message on paper. The hole in the door is mearly a peep hole in which to see the message. Right?

  29. Jeff Quigley says:

    Is it a peephole with a hinged view lens mounted to the jamb?

  30. Tom Breese says:

    I’ll take a shot: the metal piece holds a card or something to communicate to outsiders, and the user inside the room can slide it laterally from inside the room w/out having to open the door by poking a stick of some sort through the hole in the door. Just guessing here…

  31. Charly Shannon says:

    Is it a peep hole, metal is reflective as a mirror?

  32. Keith K says:

    I am thinking its some sort of a site or peephole and that plate on the wall or frame (hard to tell in 2d) is a mirror that allowed you to see if there was anything coming without opening the door. Strange enough answer for ya?

  33. Jerry Richmond AHC/CDC says:

    The door looks like it has the Schlage Everest 29 “through-cut technology”. Just kidding!
    I dare say this was some low-level technology for observation, akin to a modern door viewer. You look through the hole at the “reflective” plate and you can see if someone is on the other side of the door. I just hope this wasn’t on the girl’s locker room door!

  34. Tony Park says:

    a peephole like a door view used today in our industry???

  35. Jim Distefano says:

    It looks like a sort of Peep Hole / Vision Access Port allowing the push side user to see if someone is standing on the swing side of the door and not hit that person on the swing side. The jamb mounted plate may have been highly polished at one time to act as a mirror to reflect an image through the diagonal hole in the door.

  36. John Borchmann says:

    Its a hold open device

  37. Ryan Krakowsky says:

    Door viewer

  38. cda says:

    OK Lori, now that you have burned our brains out over a non code item!!!!!!

    But look at all the great replies you got.

    I first thought it was two seperate pictures.

    Keep up the good work

  39. KeithK says:

    Looks like plenty of us had it down.

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