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The Golden Lion
A History of European Decorative Hardware


Since the Middle Ages wrought iron has had many uses, but most importantly security, providing heavy reinforcement and function to any wooden door, small or large.

The art of wrought-iron manufacturing was inexpensive and easy to produce. During the Renaissance, the craft evolved rapidly from crude and functional to spectacular heights due to more refined designs and intricate mechanisms. pictured FDS. The Art Deco period represents the apogee when Gilbert Poillerat, among others, created breathtaking works but unfortunately reached the creative limits of the metal.

Even so, dedicated craftsmen continue this time-honored tradition, and we are pleased to offer many gorgeous examples of the art.


During the Renaissance the Kings and their courts had expansive and expensive tastes. With the evolution of Versailles, a modest hunting pavilion, to its final glorious state, the work of bronze reached new heights in every field, lending richness to any interior. Houses with generations of experience, like Remy Garnier in Paris or Vervloet in Bruxelles, supplied discerning buyers with extraordinary works, and still do.

Rendering freshly cast metal into a masterpiece is a meticulous affair. Hand chiseling is an art, as every surface and detail is retouched by an expert craftsperson. Traditionally, workers made their own tools to finish every single item of a project. By striking the new casting with a particular tool and a small hammer, details were accentuated and a small sculpture created – no two alike, each with its own character and history.

Those tools are ceremonially passed from one generation to the next, or to deserving prospects. Every time we travel to France, we search for such a set… to no avail. Still, we hope!


Now we turn the page to technology. Brass is friendlier for modern manufacturing as the molds last longer than those for bronze, allowing for large quantity casting, and cost cutting. However, manufacturing has evolved quickly with the process of injection created by Italian foundries. Instead of pouring hot metal in molds hoping against bubbles or defects, the metal is injected under high pressure into the smallest cavities of the molds. The better the mold, the better the product. The Enrico Cassina collection is a fine example of such technology – perfect quality at all levels.

Brass is a soft metal, exceptionally smooth and perfect for plating once polished. All metals, from nickel to gold, bond very strongly to brass and offer a world of design possibilities.


Today, technology is moving extremely fast; computer-controlled CNC cutting machines provide perfect details in every shape, in any material. British manufacturers embraced the process early, and companies like Armac Martin and Frank Allart offer splendid lines in Modern and Art Deco styles.

Older talented houses like Remy Garnier and Maison Vervloet have also reinvented themselves, stunning the design world by joining with famous designers to create bold new lines of Modern hardware true to the quality de la maison.

At such levels, custom manufacturing is a service provided by all companies, so put on your thinking caps!

New materials are introduced every day to challenge the most demanding taste and allow designers to express their most ambitious artistic visions. And we can’t wait to discover these gems and share them with you at The Golden Lion.

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