Butterflies and butts – ancient and modern (ish)

A pretty little hinge… the butterfly was traditionally used for a little spice cupboard built into the chimney breast of the big, open cooking fire. Like most hinges of its day, it was made from two leaves, each folded round the pin and back on itself, where it was thinned down on the anvil and fire-welded. Modern steel has made the fire-welding much more difficult… and less necessary because of its strength compared to the soft wrought iron of the pre-industrial age. But the Industrial Revolution also offered an accuracy unachievable to the old-time smith and the butt hinge was born, tight enough and strong enough to conceal on the edge of a door. Scores of sizes and many styles are available in any diy store but one is fast disappearing…. made in cast iron and once the last word in quality.