The Finest Brass and Iron Hardware Available for Furniture and Home.

Historical Guide to Drop & Ring Handles

Ring-style pull (handle)
Ring pull with decorative backplate
Drop handle

Ring handles appear as one of the earliest form of handle. Certainly as soon as iron could be forged handles of this basic form would have been produced. The simplicity and fundamental rightness of this form has meant continued popularity through all furniture styles up to the present times.

A handle of this form has the advantages of strength, ease of use and manufacture and low profile. At it's most basic it is nothing but a ring and a cotter (split) pin and we carry just such an item from Mexico. In almost every case the ring and mount are partnered with a backplate. The functional purpose of the backplate is to reinforce the wood where the mounting post fastens through. The backplate also provides the opportunity for every imaginable decorative variation from the simple disc shown above to the pharaoh shown on the right.

Ring handles come in a wide range of sizes to suit the smallest drawers in a desk to the largest of doors. Their low profile makes them a good choice in tight places such as pocket doors and internal drawers, many of the smaller sizes we carry have an overall projection of less the 3/8" and even the larger sizes are commonly less than 5/8".

The dividing line between a ring handle and a drop handle is somewhat artificial. A drop handles differs only in having a shaped rather than round handle. The decorative emphasis of a ring handle is placed firmly on the backplate while a drop handle relies either solely or equally on the shaped handle.

Dutch drop handles

To get some idea of the endless choices available in our selection of a popular style of drop handle called a "Dutch Drop", look to the image on the right. The smallest of these handles are often found on the interior drawers of 18th century writing desks, the medium sizes on the drawers of side tables and quite where the largest size (3" across) might be used is beyond me! Almost all ring and drop handles are mounted by bolt and nut, except the smaller Dutch drops which are attached with an integral wood screw.

Relevant Products
Ring Handles
Dutch Drops