Saturday, May 23, 2015

Story of our times - What happened to screen door latches?

This is the only screen door latch design sold in our local hardware stores:


The t-shaped metal bar in the center has two prongs that join the indoor mechanism. One first mounts the outdoor handle mechanism, then joins the bar to the indoor mechanism  and attaches it to the door. The bar slides into the outdoor mechanism collar. There’s no stop or spring in the outdoor mechanism, the bar can easily slide in and out. Only the two metal prongs at the tip hold it to the indoor mechanism.

After about 6-8 weeks of use at our home those prongs come loose, the bar slides deeper into the outdoor handle, and it is no longer possible to open the door. 

It’s a bad design. There should be a better way to attach the bar to the indoor mechanism, or there should be a spring in the outside handle.

This is different from the quality issues that afflicted toasters in 2006; the mechanisms are well made. It’s just that they’re well made to a hopelessly bad design.

I wonder if, years ago, a Chinese manufacturer incorrectly copied an older design. But why did it become universal?

I’m half-heartedly looking for a different design, but the market is probably telling us that nobody has a wooden screen door in 2015. We need to replace the door with something that will lose less heat in the winter.

Weird, and somehow characteristic of our times.

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