Baltica is known for designing beautiful monogrammed door knobs. Distinctive custom designed monogram knobs reflect uniqueness and personify elegance. They are a welcome individualized design choice in this day of cookie-cutter luxury products. These one-of-a-kind custom knobs become timeless classics.
Clients have asked Baltica to create monogrammed door knobs for a single door as well as for entire private residences. The design of monogrammed knobs is a truly creative process. To order custom monogrammed door knobs, the first step is for the client to select which Baltica door knob style they prefer. Those seeking truly bespoke knobs, request that we design a bespoke door knob style for their project. Pricing of the custom monogram depends upon the number of letters. A monogram consisting of two or three letters is much more intricate than a single letter monogram.
Once the knob style has been chosen, our design team drafts several beautiful custom monogram layouts. The custom monogram design proposals are presented to the architect, interior designer and client for review. The approved final monogram design is forwarded to our master pattern maker for custom carving. Exquisite detailing requires skilled craftsmanship, which has been acquired by years of experience. Next the custom knob moves from the design stage into reality. We are glad to share images of these multiple steps with the client, so that they could view the fascinating design and production sequence.
The custom monogrammed door knob prototype is born of molten metal in our sand casting foundry. The castings are precisely machined, hand finished, hand chased and polished by our master artisans. Specialty finishes are applied. Stunning monogrammed door knobs are prepared for shipment to the client.
Now that we have shared a brief overview about the design of Baltica monogrammed door knobs, I‘d like to offer you some insight into the history of monograms. Monograms are not only beautiful. They also serve as an artistic form of visual communication – combining creative typography and graphic design.
The term monogram is derived from two Greek words, single and a letter. Since the earliest days of civilization, people have used symbols for identification. Paleontologists have found the oldest surviving man-made signs on triangular grave slabs in a rock shelter at La Ferrassie in the Dordone, France. With the development written language, our culture inherited letters of the alphabet from past generations. Monograms seem to have first been used by the Egyptians, and later by the Isrealites, Greeks and others. The Greeks called the letter tau the ‚token of absolution‘. This letter or symbol was also called the letter of life.
Monograms appeared on the first coined Greek money of 700 B.C. Ancient Greek coins were stamped with a combination of Greek letters. For example, the monogram of the city Achaea consisted of the letters alpha (A) and chi (X)
Various rulers, throughout the ages, used monograms and had them stamped on their coinage – including Constantine the Great and Charlemagne.
Historically, monograms were used by almost all kings and nobles who were proud of their heraldry. The coat of arms represented families. Whereas monograms were associated with nobility. They were designed for decorative use in their castles and on their personal belongings.
Royal castles included monogrammed door knobs. European monarchs appointed artisans to create create custom door hardware, which was personalized with royal monograms, crests and symbols.
Over the course of history, the role of monograms has changed. Years ago they were used not only for identification and decoration. Monograms were also used as makers marks, manufacturers signatures, owner‘s marks and to confirm decisions. They were used as symbols of ownership, identification, authentication, guarantee and decoration. Monograms were used to mark herds, trading sacks and packaging. Many early monogrammed seals also served as trademarks. For example, in Mesopotamia the marks used on sailing jars were considered seals of ownership.
Signature seals were used to authenticate ownership and validate agreements. The earliest seals found date back to the Urak period in Mesopotamia (before 3000 B.C.) Seals were incorporated into signet-rings. These rings were common during the Byzantine period for signing personal documents.
Charlemagne was one of the first rulers to sign documents with a monogram. During the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries, kings and nobles who could not write, commonly used this method to sign documents. The kings of France and Spain also used monogram marks to sign documents. Anglo Saxon kings also signed documents using monogram seals, as did Williiam the Conquerer.
Royal monograms have remained in use. For example, today several Danish coins feature the monogram of Margrethe II, while the Norwegian 1 Krone coin has the ‚H5‘ Harald V monogram. In Thailand, royal monograms appear on the individual flag of each major royal family member.
In the context of artwork, monograms became the artist‘s signature. Signatures which appears in the middle of th 15th century were incorporated into the design of the drawings. A famous example of a monogram artist‘s signature is the „AD“ used by Albrecht Durer
Masons‘ marks were inscribed on stones of buildings by stonemasons at the time of construction. These marks remain to this day, since a sign carved into stone lasts through the centuries in good condition. The mason‘s marks were made for practical reasons. The role of these signs was to indicate which building the stonemasons had worked on, allowing them to be paid accordingly. Most masons‘ marks date back to the twelfth century, when many religious buildings were built.
During the Middle Ages, farming families and prominent citizens designed individual monogrammed signs known as house marks. They were used on house walls, equipment and gravestones.
Over the centuries, house marks were inherited as family signs. They later reappeared as heraldry, on coats of arms, shield and banners. The attire of knights included heraldic design on the tunic, saddle cloth and other elements. Later heraldic arms were mostly placed upon the helmet and shield of the knight. As time when on, the design of arms became subject to precise conventions. Arms as identification of warriors lost relevance during the Middle ages. These symbols remained as marks of social prestige. The evolution of heraldic symbols developed in Western Europe and Japan at the same time (1000-1200 A.D.)
The specialization of artisans prompted professional pride. Therefore the maker would ‚sign‘ his work by stamping a mark of confirmation on the finished product. However, during the times of slavery individual craftsmen were not allowed to sign their objects. Instead, the names of the masters was found on these objects. It was only from the Middle Ages, that identification of workers can be found on products.
The Crusades lead to the development of commerce. The process of gaining wealth by the grant of the sovereign or at the point of the sword came to an end. The new class which emerged was not entitled to bear coats of arms. Churches of the period showed the monograms or merchant‘s marks of wealthy merchant benefactors to commemorate their contribution. Monogrammed door knobs were prepared for the residences of affluent merchants.
Over the years, monograms have been used mostly by the wealthy. Thus they are associated with status. During the Victorian era, monograms became popular elements to engrave on personal objects. They became a trend amoung the wealthy and those desiring to be aristocrats. Victorian interiors included ornate decorative hardware and monogrammed door knobs.
Custom door hardware installed in hotels, public building and commercial properties has included monogrammed door knobs. The historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco takes great pride in their solid oak doors which feature original brass monogrammed knobs from 1909. The interior of the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City had beautiful monogrammed door knobs. In 2006, Christie‘s held an auction selling the contents of this legendary hotel, which included the beautiful monogrammed knobs.
Monograms have evolved into an excellent branding tool for one‘s personal identity. After eight years and numerous versions of his monogram letters, Rembrandt selected his mark. Louis Vuitton‘s son Georges created the famous ‚LV‘ logo to prevent counterfeiting of their designer luggage. The connected ‚CC‘ company logo, created by Coco Chanel is one of the most recognized monograms worldwide. Thus monogram logos are now international symbols of elegance and wealth.
Professional athletes include monograms in the design of their sportswear lines. When introducing his new sportswear line, Roger Federer remarked ‚The Federer monogram creates not a sports brand but a fashion brand‘.
Over the years, the styles of monograms have changed. Social media is influencing personal identification. Digital communitions, texting and social media may prompt new monogram designs which include hashtags.
Customization of luxury products in not limited to door hardware, stationary, linens, luggage and clothing. World renowned luxury brands offer custom options to their clients. Since 1854, Louis Vuitton has been making special order monogrammed trunks and luggage for their clients. Hermes also caters to their client‘s special requests. Customized Hermes handbags may be special ordered in a choice of leathers with interior initials and hardware detailing. The leather upholstery of Rolls-Royce automobiles may be customized with stitching, monograms and images.
Personalization and customization is a wonderful choice in this age of mass produced products. The Baltica design team has also created beautiful monogrammed cylinder lids and door stops. The sky is the limit when it comes to designing custom monogrammed decorative hardware!
It is a always pleasure to work with discerning connoisseurs of luxury. We look forward to designing unique monogrammed door knobs for our clients.
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