Lighter

Door Knobs A Thing Of The Past?

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Image: Michele Ahin
Door handles are not just functional, they can also be artistic. Image: Michele Ahin

Think of some of the things that used to be very popular, but which practically don’t exist anymore. Like vinyl records. Or fax machines. Or… door knobs?

Door knobs may become a thing of the past, with door levers taking their place.

That’s because Vancouver, a large city in British Columbia, recently changed its building code to say that new buildings will be built with levers instead of knobs.

The city’s building code is changing to levers because they are easier to open. People with arthritis, for instance, often find door knobs difficult.

Using levers will make doors as accessible to as many people as possible.

Vancouver is the only city in Canada that has a building code.

Because of that, any changes they make tend to get written into the province’s building code and then into Canada’s building code.

So if Vancouver says levers instead of door knobs, chances are that change will happen throughout Canada soon afterwards.

There will also be a ripple effect throughout the construction industry. If building codes call for levers, why would anyone manufacture knobs, knowing that people won’t buy them? And once the manufacturers stop making knobs, that’s it for them.

That won’t be for many years, of course, since many people still have knobs on their doors.

Image: marya
Door levers such as these will be replacing handles. Image: marya

This ripple effect starting from Vancouver’s building code has happened before.

When Vancouver called for low-flush instead of regular toilets, that change went Canada-wide and now it’s hard to find new houses with regular-flush toilets in them. The same goes for incandescent (traditional, round) light bulbs. Most stores sell LED or energy-saving fluorescent bulbs.

According to the Vancouver Sun newspaper, the builders in Vancouver are serious about making the change to levers. The city has already replaced most of the stylish, “art deco” door knobs from public doors in its City Hall, which was built in 1936.

Those knobs have recently been changed to levers.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Today’s article reminds readers about many of the things that they may remember but no longer exist, such as records and fax machines. Can you remember something that is no longer made, or is very hard to find? Why do you think they stopped making it?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Levers will be placed on all new doors in British Columbia in order to assist people who experience difficulty turning handles. Name three everyday devices that you use and consider how they could be changed in order to help the people who may experience difficuly using them.

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Analogy
An analogy is an expression used by an author to make a comparrison, just like a simile or metaphor. The expression “ripple effect” is an analogy because it compares what it is that is being discussed to the waves that are created when a stone is thrown into a still body of water.

Where and when have you seen the “ripple effect” of someone’s choices or behaviours? Why was this an example of a ripple effect?