One of the most noticeable features in Malta that you can enjoy is its traditional architecture that seemed like you have travelled back in time. The timeless beauty of old Maltese houses can be easily seen through its colourful wooden balconies, white limestone facades and intricately designed doors and door knockers.
Door knockers or “habbata” are a practical way of announcing your presence to the homeowners without being rude. They come in wide variety of sizes, materials and designs and are ever present to almost all traditional houses in Malta. They also help the residents in opening and closing their big and beautiful doors more easily. Door knockers are typically made of brass, iron and bronze. Each main door usually had two identical door knockers: one for each door wing.
With the passage of time, door knockers had become a status symbol of the family in the community. A simple iron ring door knocker connotes a simple family, while door knockers made of elegant materials and intricately designed means the house is owned by an affluent family. The profession of the homeowner can also be reflected in his choice of door knockers as well as family crests and symbols.
The simplest type of door knocker typically consists of a ring handle which has holes at both sides in which a heavy-duty metallic ring hangs. In the bottom part of the ring, a metal fixed to the door is installed. This piece of metal ensures that when the door knocker is used, it does not hit the wooden door directly and thereby protecting it from breaking or cracking. The noise made by striking the door knockers creates a loud sound that can easily alert residents of the house about the presence of visitors in their doorsteps.
Things to consider in choosing the right door knockers
When choosing your own door knockers, the first thing you need to consider is the durability of the door knockers. Solid metallic door knockers ensures you that your fixture will not easily get damaged especially when struck upon the door. Ring handles or fasteners should also be rust and weather-proof. Rust can easily compromise the overall integrity of any metallic structure; when this happens, falling metallic rings can easily cause accidents and injuries to any person using your door knockers.
Door knockers should also have a polished and antique finish. Not only will this give a more classical and aged look to your doors, it will also be more visible to visitors especially if your wooden doors are painted in bright pastel colours. Install the door knockers in the middle and about 1/3 distance from the top part of the door. This is the ideal position where most people can easily reach and use the door knockers.
Brass door knockers
Traditional Maltese door knockers are typically made of brass. Brass knockers are available in both polished and antique finish and also in gold tone, silver tone and copper tone which can easily give your door a classical and aged look. Historically, door knockers made of brass are supposed to bring good luck to the homeowners and had slowly grown in popularity during the old times. Brasses are sturdy, durable and tough material which can easily last for a long time with little maintenance. This material is also known for its antibacterial properties and has the inherent ability to kill harmful microbes rapidly. When struck against the door or metal plate, brass can produce a loud noise with little effort. Aside from this, it is rust-resistant, corrosion-resistant and highly malleable making it a very good choice if you want customized designs such as fleur de lis, sirens, dolphins and gargoyles.
Cast iron door knockers
For a more old-fashioned door knocker looks, you can opt to use cast iron door knockers. They are very elegant and rugged to look at especially if you want to maintain the time-worn appearance of your house. Although cast irons are more susceptible to rust that its brass counterpart, it can also add a unique and authentic old look to your knockers; given that the integrity of the fixture is not compromised. Most cast iron door knockers are powder coated with black and rust-colored paints that provides it with anti-corrosion and anti-rust properties without compromising its antiquated appearance. Like brass knockers, they come in different Victorian-style designs such as circular ropes, lion heads, ship anchors and other ornamental figures.