Hanging a gate in the 19th century was taken somewhat more seriously than it is today. It seems, from various publications and farming correspondence of the 18th and 19th century, jobs like gate hanging was a rather important task on the farm and some pride was taken in making and hanging a gate.
These instructions and diagram, by Mr Thomas N. Parker of Hatton Grange, printed in the early eighteen hundreds, shows a gate with the recommended furniture and best method of hanging.
“A, represents a section of two gate posts, with the proper position for the hinges of a gate to open one way, shewing also the line of fastening, the line of rest, and line of equilibrium; which two last lines are in the same vertical plane, both with the hooks, and with the gate’s centre of gravitation; and at about 1-16th part of a circle within the line of equilibrian, a short post is placed to prevent the gate opening too near upon its equilibrium, and thereby becoming liable to be left open.
B, is the upper thimble for a common gate, which is less expensive, but by no means so good as when the strap extends to the whole length of the gate, which will be described hereafter; this thimble is twisted 1-4th of an inch bearing towards the hanging post. C, is the lower thimble of a gate proportioned to the upper thimble B, as 1¾ inch is to 3 inches, in regard to the distance between their centres and shoulders respectively. These thimbles are adapted for a gate whose hinges are 40 inches asunder, and as 40 is to 1¼ the difference in this instance, so should be any other distance from hinge to hinge, to the proportionate difference or extra length of the lower thimble; and the greater the extra length might be made, over and above such proportion, the greater must become the velocity of the gate’s fall, or tendency towards the line of rest; until its course is arrested by the fastening post 1-16th part of the circle, or 22° 80’ short of the line of rest.
The lower thimble is let into the gate by a screw of equal substance throughout its length, or not tapered, in order that the adjustment of the thimbles as to the velocity of the gates fall, may be regulated to so degree of nicety as half a turn of the screw; and the thimble may be let into the heel of the gate, or lengthened out by a washer, as occasion shall require...D, is the upper hook. E, is the lower hook, with key hole and cotter... F, is a complete gate for opening one way, and constructed in such a manner, that it shall not sink at the head, as ordinary gates are apt to do...the sawing out of timber, which should be of kind oak, not too tough, and entirely free from sap.
The waste in planing and finishing a gate may be allowed for or not, as the gate is desired to be a little more or less strong (when the timber is good, it is reduced so little by being planed and finished into a gate, that no allowance need be made for the waste; or at all events, if the sawer attends to the dimensions recommended, the gate will be quite strong enough for its size)...The diagonal lacing is fitted into the heel by a strong butment, even with lowest bar, and its smaller end meets the upper angle at the head, and is confined laterally by two upright lacings; this would keep up the rail, provided the head were not pulled forward, and this is prevented by an iron strap of equal length to the gate, being attached to, or forming a part of the upper thimble in the first instance, where it holds the heel of the gate by the shoulder of the thimble; it is afterwards screwed to the rail at proper distances; and lastly, secures the whole work together, by a screw nut, rounded and let into the front of the gate's head (The iron strap is about an inch by a quarter of an inch in substance, for one half of its length, when it is tapered towards the head of the gate. At the end nearest to the thimble, it is made stronger for a few inches; and close to the shoulder of the thimble , it should be as much as half an inch thick; the edges are chamfered off, and the whole appears to be gradually tapered from the heel to the head of the gate, widening a little round the hole which is left for the upright part of the latch adjoining to the handle). By this arrangement, the gate is in fact suspended by the iron strap and rail, instead of the heel, which assists greatly in preventing any strain upon the mortices by the gate's own weight, or otherwise; I cannot imagine a gate of a more durable construction, and it seems more particularly well calculated for road gates.
The fastening is remarkably easy for a horseman to open, and as difficult, if not impossible, to be opened by cattle; the upright wire of the latch is furnished with a guard, and the mortice of the head of the gate, through which the latch passes, is finished with sheet iron escutcheons, like those at I, the fastening being completed with a catch H, having a button in the place of the ring....A gate suspended in the manner described cannot be left open, (exepting in high winds) but will shut of itself, tho' not with an uniformly accelerated motion, as might be supposed, its velocity being rather increased as it passes the middle parts of its semicircular course, and retarded again as it approaches its line of rest...G is a common peg latch for the head of the gate with a guard to render it safer for cattle which might run against it when the gate is open; and this forms a very secure fastening , either with or without the guard, when attached to the catch H; but it is thought very inconvenient for horsemen, and particularly so for those who are not accustomed to it. H is the catch adapted to the latch G. I, represents two sheet iron escutcheons, and a pattern for a strong latch, which is executed in cast iron (The perfection to which the art of casting iron is now brought, leads me to think, that a great part, if not the whole of the iron work for gates, may be executed in that cheap and expeditious manner; and it is my intention to make this the subject of future experiments) for trial, 3-4ths of an inch thick. K is the catch belonging to I, to be made also of cast iron, 1 inch thick. L is a hasp with a peg, of which the stud passes through the lower hole, but is too large to pass the upper hole, and therefore cannot be detatched from the hasp; this may be made very useful in a fold yard, &c.
M is part of an oak tree, without the bark; and since a well constructed gate cannot be advantageously used, without suitable posts, it is necessary to make some remarks upon the length, and substance as such as will answer the intended purpose; and as much expence and trouble may be saved, by a proper understanding in this respect... An oak post 10 inches square and 8 feet long is sufficiently strong for the gate F, and it will contain 5½ feet of timber...the lower part of a tree of the dimensions M will make 4 capital posts for use...but the true measure of the part of a tree M is 25 feet...this leaves to the purchaser of round timber, taking in the sap, an advantage in the proportion of about 50 to 39, or upwards of 5 to 4. Estimate of gate posts. For 4 posts containing 19½ feet customery measure, of moderately good oak (several inches of which, in the length towards the root, is of little or no value taken together, say at 2s a foot, £ 1.19.0. 32 feet of sawing, say 1s 0, = £ 2.0.0 This being divided by 4 will amount to 10s a post; which value, though apparantly large, will be soon compensated in avoiding the continual charge of altering and propping insufficient posts...
I have arranged terms upon which the public may be furnished with exact specimens of the gate and iron-work recommended, by application to Mr Samual Lawrence, Black-Smith, or Mr William Bucknal, Joiner, Shifnal, Shropshire, who will pay immediate attention to letters, post paid, containing money to the ammount of the order; and any surplus of a note will be punctually returned with the goods. A gate to the pattern F with iron-work complete for opening one way, £ 1. 15. 10 Above gate to swing, £ 1. 17. 4. A gate, with all the iron-work complete, weighs about 6 scores and 10 pounds, and I have so far settled the terms of carriage, that any number of them, either together or singly, shall be delivered at Bridge-north, on the river Severn, 11 miles from Shifnal, for 1s each; or at Gaily wharf, on the Staffordshire canal, for the same charge, which may be paid with the amount of land carriage, being on the great road between London and Shrewsbury, and consequently a thoroughfare for the stage waggons”.
Reproduced by kind permission of cheltenhamfencing-gates.co.uk
©rescuingthepast.co.uk 2006-2011 tOP
preserving rural bygones
Gatemaking - Gate-hanging