Vintage in-the-door twist crank door bell restoration

I live in a 117 year old house. Sometimes it’s a challenge to heat, cool and clean. But, we have the original doors which I love. Big heavy solid wood doors with a lead glass window.


What you can’t see on this side of the door is an original brass twist crank door bell.


Who paints these things? Does it come from pure laziness or at some point was this considered an eye sore or old fashioned? Either way I am happy that it wasn’t taken out if the door. But the paint muffled the sound of the bell and it needed some maintenance.

First I very carefully began scraping off the paint. It was decades of paint and paint types so I heated it with a hair dryer and began picking… All day picking with a sharp knife. I was careful not to gouge. Once I was able to loosen the center screw that holds it to the door, I removed it. I filled a glass bowl with hot sauce. Yep, hot sauce.


I lowered the bell into the sauce and let it sit for a while. The acidic hit sauce ate away at the corosion on the outside and inside of the metal. Check every 15 minutes and use a soft toothbrush to scrub some of it off.



I used some fine steel wool to get it looking good as well. While I was cleaning this piece, I cleaned the mechanism and use a spray penetrant. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that. It made the twist turn much easier.

The end result is fabulous. It’s stamped April 14, 1891 patented. The house was built in 1896.



It worked so well I moved on to the hardware.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s