About Three Maples Trading Company & Our Suppliers
We bought this farm in 1975, and over the years we have grown very fond of the place.
The most dramatic and defining characteristics are the three field-form maple trees in our backyard. They are planted 40-50 feet apart, they have grown over 70 feet tall, and their spread touches to create one long canopy in the middle of open fields. The circumference of the trunk of the largest is over 20 feet. Hence the name “Three Maples”.
The oldest room in the house was built sometime after 1690 (The approximate age of the oldest bricks in our fireplace) and before 1730 (Based on the framing of the joists, beams and floor planks). Historical records of the original owner, shows a date of 1701 as the most likely date the first room was built. (Based on when the owner and his family first moved to town.)
The house was originally built as a one room building with a loft. Sometime after 1757 and before 1773 the house was expanded to a two room format with a second floor. A third expansion occurred sometime in the early 1800’s to the present center chimney colonial plan.
Over the years we have followed the guideline that says “do no harm to original elements”. As much as possible, we have tried to add details and features at least compatible with the originals. Since the house was built in stages, that has been a challenge. Our experience opened us to finding sources of hardware that can be used to reproduce the original look and feel.
Three Maples has worked hard to find suppliers who continue to build black iron hardware the way it was built 300 years ago. Our suppliers have been carefully tested and orders reviewed to assure the product quality meets our careful standards. We have found our suppliers to be extremely helpful, and willing to do almost anything we ask.
They are capable of a wide range of products, only some of which are being brought to the US. They work in hand forged steel, ceramics, stainless steel, brass and bronze, aluminum and many decorative trims. The product lines are wide and varied. There is hardware for many applications, including bathroom accessories, drapery fittings, fireplace tools and accessories, nautical items, and offer a special products service to custom make anything to design.
As a result, Three Maples chose to limit our initial offering and start our inventory with a variety of the black hand forged steel products. As time goes on, we are expanding that line with new products. Produicts we choose based on feedback from our interested customers. We can however, offer any of a much wider range of products on a special order basis. If you have a special need, please contact us to discuss how we may be able to help you.
Three Maples Trading Company is a distributor of fine handmade hardware. Hardware that evokes the look and feel of antique, because it is made using many of the same techniques used to make the originals, 2-400 years ago.
When the Colonies were first founded, British law made it necessary that all manufactured goods be bought from Colonial sources. The American colonies were not legally allowed to produce manufactured goods like hardware. Most of that was made in England using small handmade facilities, manned by craftsman, whose secrets of manufacture were protected by proprietary guilds. Over time the American colonies began to make their own, but if you are looking to replace the hardware in your 1600 to 1750 colonial house, it was probably originally English made. Even after 1750 much of the hardware was still made in England, and imported.
During this same period houses were crafted by master carpenters to fit the owners needs. No two beams, planks or joists were the same. This is called “Make to Fit”, and characterizes early houses. Later the techniques changed with the advent of sawed dimensional lumber. Houses slowly began to be “made to rule” as standards of size emerged. Most houses have rooms and sections from differing eras, as a result of the way they were built and then modified. Our house has sections from 1700, 1750, and 1820. Over the years the variation, and quirky differences in this old house have defined how special it is. There is no such thing as a level, square and perpendicular surface. Carpentry is slow, and all pieces need to be made to fit. But that is part of its endearing appeal. Ideally, the hardware should match the style. However, finding affordable hardware has been very difficult.
Today, there are US and English craftsmen who can make fine hardware, but at a high end price. Three Maples has found a source that still uses the same age-old techniques to manufacture their line of hardware. These craftsmen can offer you brand new hardware, with all the quirky and uneven marks and dimensions that only handmade can offer. The same characteristics that define a fine antique home. Our hardware can be offered at a competitive price to meet any budget. Now you can have the wonderful look and feel of handmade, but at an affordable price.