Olympic torch door pull designed in the Empire style

In Architectural hardware by baltica

Baltica has designed an Olympic torch door pull and front door entrance set. At first glance these custom door handles remind one of the Olympic Games. Yet the design of these bespoke door pulls actually reflects the Empire style. Architects and interior designers recognize the elements of this early 19th century design movement. It originated during the rule of the Emperor Napoleon I in the First French Empire. The Empire style was intended to idealize Napoleon’s leadership and the French state.

We named our Olympic torch door pull design ‘Augustus’ – the name of the first Roman emperor. Augustus is a very appropriate name for the Olympic torch door pull, as it means majestic, great and magnificent. The Baltica design team has created a complete Augustus series of coordinating door levers, door knobs, escutcheons, cabinet pulls, cabinet knobs and recessed pulls. Our Augustus escutcheon and flush pull are embellished with the Olympic flame.

Olympic torch door pull

Augustus door pull I

Yet instead of delving into the Empire style, today let’s lighten up and take a look at the connection between the design of our Olympic torch door pull and the Olympic Games. Both reflect the pursuit of excellence.

Olympic athletes follow their passion and strive to achieve their best performance. Every athlete makes a commitment to excellence. The Baltica design team and master artisans strive to create to the best of our ability – pushing forward to reach new levels of excellence. We believe that on our own path, it’s important for us to make a commitment to excellence — to go for it, dig down deep and give it our best shot. When designing the Olympic torch door pull, our goal was to create a truly unique original design, which would appeal to our clients worldwide.

The Olympic Games are filled with passion. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat is on display each day. In our own lives and on our own journey, passion is a key component to growth, success and fulfillment. To live life with depth, purpose and aliveness, we must tap into our passion in an authentic way and use it as inspiration.

We are thankful that the efforts of the Baltica design team are recognized. The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a Design patent for the original design of our Augustus thumb latch front door entrance set, which includes the Olympic torch door pull.

Baltica thumblatches are engineered to work with mortise locks, which provide top notch security. We’ve designed two hinged cylinder cover plates for use with the Augustus thumblatch – featuring the sun goddess Minerva and a laurel wreath.  The decorative lid covers the round key cylinder.

Olympic torch door pull

Augustus thumblatch

In celebration of the 2018 Winter Olympics, we introduced our newest Olympic torch door pull. The Augustus door pull T is 40 cm (16 inches) length. Since we specialize in creating custom door hardware, this new bespoke door pull is also available in custom lengths.

Olympic torch door pull

Augustus door pull T

The new Augustus door pull T is an excellent choice for residential and commercial properties. This Olympic torch door pull would be stunning on custom entrance doors, hotel doors, restaurant doors, glass doors and metal doors. Depending upon the finish selected, it would be appropriate for classic, transitional and contemporary interiors.

While designing the Olympic torch door pull and researching the history of the Olympic flame and torch we came across so much fascinating information – ranging from Greek mythology to modern day laser technology.

Olympic torch door pull

The symbolism of fire in Greek mythology

Fire is a sacred symbol dating back to prehistoric times. In ancient Greece it symbolized the creation of the world, renewal and light.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus and Epimetheus were given the task to create man. Prometheus shaped man from mud and Athena breathed life into the figure. Prometheus loved his creations very much. Since Epimetheus had already given out all of the wings, fur, claws, and other natural gifts to the animals, leaving humans naked and vulnerable, Prometheus gifted his creations with fire and allowed them to stand upright, as the gods.

When Zeus took fire away from man, Prometheus stole it back, lighting a torch from the sun and re-gifting mankind with the fire that allowed them to develop science and culture.

Zeus was outraged upon this discovery.  He punished Prometheus by having him chained to a pillar and tortured by a monstrous eagle. After thirty years, Hercules, killed the eagle and rescued Prometheus from his torment. The ancient Greeks believed that fire was given to mankind by Prometheus. They considered fire to be sacred.

The torch relay in ancient Greece

In ancient Greece the centers of city-states had sanctuaries whose altars had continuously burning sacred fires.  Also a sacred flame burned in each home, dedicated to Hestia, goddess of the family. Torch relay races started in ancient Greece as religious rituals, during which runners brought the sacred fire from one altar to the next.

In ancient Athens, the goal of the relay torch race during the Panathenaic games, held every four years in honor of the goddess Athena, was to finish swiftly with the torch still burning – thus preserving the strength and purity of the sacred flame. As a reward the winner was allowed to light the fire for sacrifices at the altar. The ritual aspect was more important than the competition. The torch relay carried the flame from the altar of Prometheus to the altar of goddess Athena on the Acropolis.

The Greeks had a ritual flame during the ancient Olympics. However they never staged torch bearer relay to open their games. In the Prytaneum at Ancient Olympia there was an altar dedicated to Hestia with a sacred flame, kindled from the sun’s rays, with the help of a hollow disc or mirror. The flame was never allowed to go out. The concave surface focused the rays of the sun at a single spot. The High Priestess laid the torch on the focal point and it caught fire.

The idea of the Olympic flame was inaugurated during the 1928 Olympic Games in Amstersdam, when the Dutch architect Jan Wils designed a tower in which a flame burned continuously during the games.

The modern torch relay was inspired by ancient Greek drawings and the writings of Plutarch.  The first relay from Olympia to Berlin was held as part of the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympic Games. The Olympic flame symbolizes the light of spirit, knowledge and life.

The ritual of lighting the Olympic flame

As a tribute to their ancient roots, before each Olympic event the Olympic flame is initiated in ancient Olympia, in the temple of Hera. The ritual of the lighting of the flame starts from the Altar of Hera, in front of the goddess’s temple, which is opposite to the Temple of Zeus, at the archaeological site of Olympia. The ceremony begins with the procession of the priestesses and High Priestess – depicting the Vestal virgins. Dressed in archaic-style clothing, priestesses surround the Altar.

The High Priestess calls the Sun God Apollo to light the torch using a concave mirror to focus the sun’s rays. The High Priestess says a prayer to Apollo and Zeus. When the flame lights, the High Priestess relays the flame in a small ceramic pot. The flame then heads to the Panathinaiko stadium with all priestesses in procession. They pass by the olive tree, where they stand for a moment and “Amphithalis Pais”, the young boy cuts off an olive branch, as a symbol of peace and a meaningful winner’s prize. When the procession arrives at the stadium, the High Priestess lights the torch of the first runner and the torch relay begins.

Elements of the classical torch design can be found in the design of our Olympic torch door pull and the Augustus thumblatch.

Passing of the Olympic flame

The Olympic flame travels to many places and becomes the connecting bond among people, sending the message of hope. It travels by land, sea and air making its way to its destination at the Olympic host stadium. The flame has also traveled by laser. In 1976, the flame was translated into a radio signal, relayed via satellite and beamed back activating a laser, which lit a torch.

The path from Greece to the Olympic Games can even take the torch underwater.  During the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney a special underwater flare sent the flame over the Great Barrier Reef.

Sydney torch at Agincourt Reef – Getty Images

Most recently, after 101 days  of traveling by various ways including via a robot, the Olympic torch finally reached the site of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Olympic torch collections

Olympic torchbearers are allowed to keep their torches. There are mixed opinions as to whether these iconic torches should or should not be sold. There is a lucrative market for Olympic torches and numerous Olympic torch collectors. Apparently official torches from every Olympic Games in history can be found online anywhere from Sotheby’s to eBay. The design of the torch has evolved over the years. Torch designs are unique for each Olympic game.  Each represents the local cultural aspect of the host nation or a classical design.

The world’s two complete existing collections are valued somewhere in the low millions up to $5 million. The most expensive torch ever sold was from the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, for which only 22 torches total were made. It sold for around $880,000.

Fire is the light in the darkness

Baltica‘s Olympic torch door pull designs commemorate the Olympic spirit.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics,  said “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

We invite interior designers and architects to specify Augustus torch door pulls for their special projects. Lets spread the light together!