Five Everyday Items that Rely on Hinges

Hinges have been in existence for many thousands of years – from being utilized on gigantic gates that enclosed the ancient biblical city of Jerusalem to being used in the farthest reaches of space to enable solar panels to open and close. Cultures around the world, without exception, would never have evolved as they have if hinges had never been available – hinges are universal and worth their weight in gold.

Let’s take a quick peek at five everyday applications where hinges allow for seamless functionality;

Doors/Drawers/Doorway Openings

From your refrigerator door to the front door of your home, hinges are what allow for freedom of any door’s movements as well as supporting the door’s weight. Butt hinges are commonly used on interior and exterior doors and offer a clean, neat appearance. Butt hinges are designed with two rectangular leaves and screw holes, and the leaves are joined by a pin or metal rod. Whenever a door is in need of being taken down, the pin is simply withdrawn.

Doors selected for closing automatically use a self-closing hinge with an embedded spring. Cabinet drawers that are auto-closing utilize self-closing hinges as well. Heavy-duty doors, such as fire doors or those used in hospital, military, or prison environments rely on what are called ball-bearing hinges. Ball-bearing hinges are permanently lubricated to provide an ultra-smooth swing and are often thicker than regular hinges – up to ¼-inch thick.

Doorway openings depend on certain types of hinges to make life easier for individuals who depend on wheelchairs or walkers for mobility. Instead of expanding doorways to accommodate these special needs, expandable door hinges do the job at a fraction of the cost. These hinges expand or widen doorway openings by a full two inches, allowing ease of access of wheel chairs, walkers and transfer chairs. Conveniently, expandable hinges use the same screws and holes as existing hinges.

Gates

When it comes to charm, garden gates come in endless styles and offer an enchanted entrance into a plot of flowers or a fruit or vegetable garden. Garden gates often utilize a type of strap hinge that attaches to a round or square post, and strap hinges offer optimized strength and eye-catching aesthetics. Strap hinges are designed with two long narrow leaves of equal size that extend from a single knuckle.

Heavier gates, such as driveway gates, depend on extremely stout hinges that are able to support 250 pounds or more. A J-Bolt pivot hinge for instance, is made specifically for heavier-than-normal applications where a mounting plate and J-Bolt arm provide brute strength. Here, the hinge pivots on a steel ball bearing; and a grease fitting keeps the bearing lubricated.

Shutters

Historically, operable shutters were intended for offering security from outsiders and protection from adverse weather – their role went beyond adding simple charm to a home’s exterior. As a side note, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home, which was constructed in 1769, utilized eight protruding hinges for every two shutters on various windows throughout the exterior of this exquisite residence. Today, there are dozens of different configurations of hinges that accommodate functioning shutters, allowing them to open and close, with ease. There are, however, two basic types of hinges used for shutters: edge-mounted and surface mounted. Edge-mounted shutter hinges are attached to the window jam, and surface-mounted hinges are mounted to the face of the window casing.

The Bermuda Shutter hinge is surface-mounted at the top of the shutter, allowing the shutter to move up and down, like a lid, instead of moving in a sideways direction. Bermuda hinged shutters are held open with a shutter ‘stay’ that consists of a long hook-and-eye assembly.

Shower Doors

You probably take for granted the fact that your shower door fully relies on hinges for back and forth mobility. The types of hinges that can be used for various shower-door designs are vast, and adjustable hinges and glass-to-glass mount hinges, for example, provide seamless door movement every time one steps in or out of one’s personal water world. Shower doors that are self-closing use specialized hinges that allow for an adjustable closing speed, and glass-to-glass hinges allow a shower door to swing in and out a full 90-degrees, with ‘stop’ at 0-degrees..

Laptops

Yes, even your laptop relies on what are called display hinges that connect the display panel and base assembly and enable the display panel to open and close. All regular computers have two hinges located on the left and right sides of the display panel. Tablet PC’s, on the other hand, possess one hinge-swivel positioned in the middle of the display.

Due to constant use, display hinges can wear out. Thanks, however, to a few very smart researchers at Reell Precision Manufacturing Corp. in Minnesota, a tiny constant-torque, wrap-spring hinge has been designed that measures only a 1/2” long but offers 100 times more durability than traditional hinges which connect the display panel to the base assembly! The new enclosed design solves two on-going issues that have contributed to laptop-computer failure: excessive bending stresses, and loss of lubrication. The revolutionary constant-torque hinge never dries out and dramatically reduces bending stresses – impressive!

Without hinges in our lives, our everyday world would look and operate a whole lot differently!