A few decades ago, while at a now defunct hardware store, I noticed a sale on antique-looking porcelain door knobs. I thought they looked attractive and so I bought one for the door of our bathroom. When I installed it, I was struck by how different the mechanism was from the normal type door knobs that I was familiar with, but I put it in.
It worked fine for a long time (except that the porcelain was a bit slippery and hard to turn when your hands were a bit wet). Then I began to notice that the screws inside the mechanism would slowly loosen preventing the door knob from opening the door, and that could cause one to become trapped in the bathroom until you unscrewed the door knob on the bathroom side and re-tightened the screws that held both sides of the door knob together.
I realized that this potential (to become locked in the bathroom) was a real problem. I recalled hearing about an older woman who became trapped for days in her bathroom, and I got trapped a couple of times myself, but because I knew how to deal with the situation, no harm was done. Luckily, I have been the only victim of our deviant door knob.
Because I am lazy, I didn’t do anything about alleviating the problem, I just kept an eye on the loosening screws and periodically tightened them.
On Tuesday night when I pulled into the carport, tired from expending so much energy at our jam session, Joan met me at the door. From the look on her face, I knew that something was up, and she soon explained that the door to the bathroom couldn’t be opened.
I surveyed the situation and determined that the screws had loosened, but since I always opened the door knob from the inside of the bathroom and was shut out, I wasn’t sure how to deal with the problem. I tried to loosen the door knob from the outside and failed. Joan suggested I try crawling through our narrow bathroom window, but after dragging the step ladder from the garage, I discovered that the window was too narrow for me to get my chest through.
There seemed only one solution left--break in, so that is what I did. With a screw driver, I wedged and bent the door knob until it finally snapped away, then I dug out all the metal pieces of the thing and was finally able to open the door.
I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to find a door knob set that will fit the hole. I have a nagging suspicion that the porcelain door knob was an oddball size and that means I might have to plug the old hole and remake a new one (Our bathroom door is a odd size and that cannot be easily replaced). Until I get around to solving the problem, we will have to continue to use the hole in the bathroom door to open and close it.
Do these things happen to other people, or just me?
Take a look at my paintings: www.davidmarchant.ca