These door knobs were salvaged by the Holden family before the house was demolished. They were donated by Eleanor Holden to the Bell Barn Society on April 28, 2010.
It was initially thought that they were part of the original interior decor of the Bell Farmhouse, dating to its 1882 construction. However, subsequent research confirms that the brass door knobs were made at Lyons, Iowa, by the United States Steel Lock Company in 1907 or earlier. (Lyons was later annexed by the neighbouring town of Clinton.)
A catalogue from that date confirms that the design of the Bell Farm door knobs is identical to those illustrated in the Lyons catalogue. Exactly when these decorative brass door knobs were installed in the Bell Farmhouse is still unknown; however they may have been part of renovations undertaken by Harry Campkin, who took over the house in 1903.
Harry was initially employed at the Bell Farm around 1885-1890, and later became owner of the Bell Farm with his brother-in-law William Lee from 1903 until 1912. Campkin seems to have been reasonably well off, and could afford to build the new wrap-around verandah shown in historic photos of that era, as well as undertake some major interior renovations. The fancy newel post might also have been part of a general upgrading of the house at that time. The Indian Head history book mentions on p. 310 that ”During the [Campkins’] residency the house was modernized, electricity and hot water piping being installed . . . and the grounds were designed and kept in the style of an English country estate, including a tennis court.” Sounds like the Campkins could well afford to also install some new door knobs.
Indian Head history: p. 310.
History of Warner Lock Company, later bought out by U.S. Steel - http://www.idaillinois.org/digital/collection/p16614coll3/id/5/rec/6
Warner Lock: https://books.google.ca/books?id=MWshVH11OswC&pg=PA518&lpg=PA518&dq=warner+Lock+Company+catalogue,+iowa&source=bl&ots=uOJeNkKndc&sig=ACfU3U2iYeBhFy79Z-xYbd2e2SeTZpLNnw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwji36fI_77qAhXrJzQIHS0UBaEQ6AEwEnoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=warner%20Lock%20Company%20catalogue%2C%20iowa&f=false
Catalogue, US Steel, Lyons, p. 93 - https://www.antiquedoorknobs.org/uploads/7/3/6/9/73695709/ussteellock1907preview.pdf
Affairs of the Warner Lock Company Chicago, p. 634 - https://archive.org/details/IronAgeVol54Oct111894/page/n129/mode/2up
Warner Lock Company, Dec. 1898 was succeeded by the United States Steel Lock Company – p. 164 - https://archive.org/details/biographicalrecol00sjcl/page/164/mode/2up
Jan. 27, 1900 - pg 17/ Mills and Factories/ Clinton IA/ “The United States Steel Lock Company has been incorporated with $100,000 capital stock” - https://books.google.ca/books?id=DD9FAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=twopage&q=%22united%20states%20steel%20lock%20company%22&f=false
Michelle Cabana, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Frank Korvemaker, Regina, Sask.