The history of the hinge stretches so far back into antiquity that archaeologists aren’t sure of its exact origin. While many metal hinges remain from periods dating back 5500 years, there is also evidence from later cultures that wood and stone were used to produce them, it follows that some of these ancient Mesopotamian cultures may have been producing them prior to the Bronze Age. These ancient devices have been refined, cultivated, and introduced into many aspects of life.
Hinges from 1600 B.C
The earliest known pivot hinges date back to pproximately 1600 B.C. These were found as wooden doors pivoting from stone sockets in Hattusa, which is in modern day Turkey. This is among the first evidence of hinges being used to make large objects movable. Hinges have undergone many changes and iterations in the centuries that followed. However, the rate of advancements was relatively slow until much later.
Hinges have been found in ancient societies in Africa, Asia, Europe and elsewhere. Most of these very early hinges are bronze door hinges.
Metal was expensive and labor-intensive to fabricate, so ancient emperors who wished to show how powerful they were exerted their wealth to purchase metal hinges.
Metalwork advanced during the Medieval period, and more and more common people began using hinged-doors in their houses.
Local blacksmiths could create wrought iron hinges at an affordable rate. However, the upper-class still constructed large castles and palaces with big doors requiring the load-bearing power of large scale hinges.
Aside from their military applications, numerous types of door hinges and butt hinges were used in chests, jewelry, doors, gates, locking parts, shipbuilding
When steam power and industrialization began in earnest, the hinge found itself in the middle of a manufacturing explosion. With so many mechanical advances over such a short period of time, there were all sorts of machines requiring hinge parts.
The 19th century saw many hinge innovations, including hinges with ball bearings for smoother opening, and hinges with neat finishes.
So many products with hinges entered daily life that to list them all would be ludicrous, and yet the expansion was far from over.