Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Historic Fleur De Lis!

The Fleur De Lis is a symbol that has been around for centuries and from what I can gather no one can pinpoint it's origins. I want to point out, that I am no scholar on symbols so the information that I have gathered is merely from some light internet reading.

Fleur De Lis Iris Fleur De Lis or sometimes spelled Fleur De Lys is translated literally from french as "Lily Flower." It's origins are somewhat of a mystery. As early as the 700's the symbol shows up on coins, clothing, pottery and totems from all over Europe. The Fleur De Lis doesn't make an appearance as a symbol with any specific significance until about the 12th century. Again, the origins of the significance are varied from source to source. Here are a couple of theories as to why the Fleur De Lis is popular.

One source argues that the FDL is more likely to be an Iris rather than a Lily. A species of Iris called 'Iris Pseudacorus' or 'Yellow Flag' as it's known in English, or Lieschblume in German. This Iris is known to grow in marshes in Northern France. The interesting thing about the German name is Liesch was also spelled Lies and Leys in the Middle Ages. It is easy to imagine that, in Northern France the Lieschblume would have been called "fleur-de-lis."
It is said that either King Louis VI or VII became the first French Monarch to use the Fleur De Lis on his shield. Later, English kings used the symbol on their coat of arms to emphasize their claim to the throne of France. Another historical figure that the FDL is associated with is Joan of Arc. She carried a banner when she led troops to victory over the English showing God blessing the French royal emblem of the Fleur De Lis.

There are also legends about the origins of the FDL Fleur De Lis Door Hardwareregarding Clovis, king of the Franks. One legend states that Clovis was on his way to fight the king of Aquitania Alaric and needed a place to cross a river. He searched in vain to find a ford to cross, when he and the soldiers startled a deer. The deer crossed along a ford that only it knew, the entire army followed. On the banks of the river, wild yellow Irises grew in abundance. Clovis picked one and put it on his helmet as a symbol of future victory.
Another Clovis legend is that a Lily was given to him at his baptism by the Virgin Mary. The Lily is said to have sprung from the tears shed by Eve as she left Eden. Over time, Christianity has adopted the FDL as a symbol that is associated with Mary that signifies purity. Today, in Christianity the Fluer De Lis is sometimes symbolized as the Holy Trinity.

The Fleur De Lis seems to be prevalent throughout North American in places that have been settled by the French. Places such as Quebec, St. Louis, Louisville, and New Orleans.
People may be attracted to the Fleur De Lis due to it's rich although somewhat confusing history. The one undisputed claim is that the FDL is directly linked with French Royalty.Places such as New Orleans are steeped in tradition and history, displaying the FDL is paying Homage to their ancestry. You see FDL as fence toppers (even Buckingham Palace has these) as decorative facades on buildings, and the New Orleans Saints have a Fleur De Lis as their team logo.
Fleur De Lis Hardware

There are a number of manufacturers who make Fleur De Lis themed hardware. You can get door entry hardware, doorbells, bathroom accessories, and cabinet hardware with the FDL theme.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sassy Switchplates!

You use them every day, they come in a number of different sizes, and you don't even think about using them when you do......what are they? Outlets and switches, of course!

Here at The Hut we sell covers for these. The actual switch, or outlet, or receptacle can be purchased at a typical "big box" store. The covers are the fun part anyway. So, first of all what are these darn things called. I usually call them all "switchplates" as a general term, and some people call them wall plates.

I will break down the different configurations for you so you can familiarize yourself with the industry terms. We'll start with "Toggle" switches, these really don't go by any other name. These are the small rectangle cut out that you use on bedrooms for example.

Single Toggle Switch

Another type is called a "Rocker" or a "Decora" or a "GFI/GFCI" or a "Paddle" switch. They are called rockers because they are look like a large rectangle paddle that rocks up and down as opposed to flipping up and down. They are called GFI's because that is the technical name for the type of electrical component that goes in the rectangle cutout. As far as Decora, I'm not sure why some people call them that. I'm sure someone out there has an answer though.

Single Rocker Switch

And of course, there's the "Outlet" which is two circles that are used for plug-in items. This, very much like the toggle is pretty self explanatory.

Single Outlet

All of these configurations come in singles, doubles, triples, and sometimes quads. The pictures below depict the some of the configurations in the different sizes.

Single and Double Switchplates

Triple Switch

You can also mix and match configurations, for example a common mixed configuration would be a double toggle and an outlet on one plate.

Double Toggle Single Outlet

The next time you turn on a light or plug something in, maybe you'll have a fancy new plate. Not only do they come in plain styles, but you can get some fairly funky covers to add a little personality to your place.

Decorative Switchplate Covers

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