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Heymatt:

Why are bathroom doorknobs silver on the inside and brass on the outside?

Jeff, Tierrasanta

I'm not sure what this says about the research elves, but they spent an awful lot of time dissecting the bathroom doorknobs, looking for the silver insides. At some point it dawned on them that you mean inside, as in inside the bathroom. You put the brass knob on the hall side of the door and the silver one on the tub side. Handyman Walt, our local expert on all things D.I.Y., says that in some of the more, um, economical knob sets this is true, but if you want to spend a little, you certainly can get all-brass sets. Anyway, knobs for frugal folk have only a very thin brass coating on a nickel or other silver-metal base, not thick enough to stand up to the potential assaults from inside the bathroom. We hang stuff on the inside knobs; we grab the knobs with our hands coated with gels, mousses, lotions, soaps, astringents, sticky sprays, and all manner of personal-maintenance chemicals. The inside knob spends a lot of time in a very humid environment, inviting corrosion. Sez Walt, a wimpy brass coating just isn't up to the job.

Behind the Bathroom Door

In the Very Old Business mail heap we have several notes from Alicelanders who suggest that bathroom doorknobs are brass on the hall side, silver on the can side to match the chrome bath fixtures. Yeah, like you can tell under all those wet towels. You heard it here first.

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