Mid-Century Door Knob Question

One of our readers has a question about mid-century Schlage backplates.
I'm a big fan of mid-century modern and love all the beautiful treasures you blog about. I'm in Los Angeles and in the process of house shopping. A few mid-century homes are at the top of my list and I'm already planning to decorate in true retro style. I bought two of these backplates on eBay (they're brand-new old stock from Schlage).

I plan to use them on interior doors. My question is, what type of doorknobs fit these? The inner circle is about 1".

-Herbert E.
Hi Herbert. Looks like what you have there is a Schlage Astra escutcheon in polished brass.

I've only ever seen this mid-century backplate with one door knob, both in mid-century door knob ads and in real life. Which made me wonder if there's a reason for that.

From the research I've done, it looks like this design is actually a piece of a mid-century door knob set, not an ornamental adornment like most backplates or escutcheons.

Most backplates sit behind the door knob and aren't actually part of the set, which means you can use pretty much any door knob, vintage or modern. That doesn't appear to be the case with the Schlage Astra. That's why is has a 1" circle with threads, the knob actually screws into escutcheon. Here's a close up photo of the knob and backplate together.

Photo from: Eureka Modern

This is going to limit you to what knobs you can use with this backplate. They're going to have to have the right threads and the right width to screw into the Schlage Astra. You're best bet would be to track down the original door knob that went along with this set, but that could take a lot of looking. If you have a helpful door and/or hardware store in the area, they might be able to help you find a modern fit. It never hurts to go in and talk to them about it. I've found that most local places or small shops love seeing vintage items and are happy to help you try to make them work.

The fact that you're planning to use these on interior doors might give you a few more options, since the knob won't have to fit perfectly for security reasons. In theory you could tack or glue the backplate to the door itself and use any door knob with a 1" center and enough width to clear the added bulk of the escutcheon.

If you able to find a modern door knob that will work with it, you'll need a 5" backset adapter because the Schlage Astra backplate is 7" tall by 4 3/8" wide.

Hope that helps.

If you have a question about anything mid-century, send them to midcenturyaustin@gmail.com and I'll do my best to answer them for you.

1 comment:

  1. you need a schlage D series knob made in the period - it will have the threads on the chassis that this escutcheon threads oonto.