Hold-opens > Overview

Hold opens do just that – they secure shutters in the open position.

Generally shutter dogs, or tiebacks, were the most popular option; but shutter hooks and stay were also common, especially in country environs.  As with all historic hardware, unique examples can be found – pieces of local invention where people searched for simpler and better ways to hold shutters open or local blacksmiths just continued to forge hardware similar to that found in their homelands.

Hooks and stays

Heavy blacksmith forged hooks were a simple and effective way to hold shutters open.  Their use is very common here in south-east Pennsylvania, especially on the early farm houses.  We use the same heavy 3/8” round material that has proven its worth in the face of centuries of use.  Our forged hook pattern is unique, a few extra hammer blows adds a bit of style to an otherwise plain piece.

In my experience, if the hook eye is attached to the sill it’s a hook – if the hook eye is fastened to the shutter it’s a stay.  I like the “stay” installation, you can use the body of the hook as a handle to easily pull the shutters closed.

Item #

Size (H x W)


603-12, 14
3/8” dia x 12 or 14” long
603-16, 18
3/8” dia x 16 or 18” long
603-20, 24
3/8” dia x 20 or 24” long

Hooks are provided with a pair of staples to attach them to the sill and shutter.  Screw eyes can be substituted for an additional $5.00 per pair.

We’ve grouped our shutter dog offerings by general date of manufacture & use:

Click any image for history, size & price.

All shutter dogs are priced by the pair, includes lag mount – any can be fitted with our optional mounts.

Shutter dogs of the pre-civil war era were typically hand forged at the anvil, our offerings are the most common of the period.

The Civil war accelerated industrial production which is evidenced in the 1870-1920’s shutter hardware.
Functional shutters became less important with the introduction of central heating…. Most shutter hardware of the 20th century has been installed primarily as decorative appointments.

People again recognize the value of functional shutters for security, storm protection and interior climate control.  We offer newly designed shutter dogs to install easily and function properly on contemporary construction.

Hold-opens > Shutter Dogs > Pre-Civil War

All of the hardware in Colonial America was hand forged. Blacksmiths pounded hot iron into the functional shapes required to hang shutters and doors. In England, export of iron hardware to the colonies was an import part of their economy. The first English “factories” were just a whole bunch of blacksmiths hammering in one big building, with tools & techniques little changed from the early guild craftsmen. While English hardware dominated, countless smiths across the Colonial countryside hammered out hardware. Their efforts usually reflected the hardware styles of their homelands and accounts for the wide range of early hardware still functioning on historic buildings.

English Rattail™



Beacon Hill™





Hold-opens > Shutter Dogs >1870’s – 1920’s

The Civil War saw emerging industrial technologies grow into heavy industry.  Rail transportation opened vast markets and heavy machinery and die-making had come of age during the war.  Most of the hardware of the period was stamped by heavy presses and then hand hammered to the finished form.  The first of the “S” shaped tiebacks was made in this period by the Stanley Hardware Works.  “Colonial Revival” tiebacks were introduced in this period.

Early Stanley™





Hold-opens > Shutter Dogs >1920’s – Present

A lot of very functional shutter hardware was designed and manufactured in the early 20th century.  By the 1920’s central heat replaced functional shutters.   Most of the shutters & hardware made in the 1930’s and later was installed as visual appointments on new “colonial” homes.   The “S” tieback was dominant as it was easily “cookie-cut” with heavy automated presses.  Over the past decade, functional shutters have again become a consideration on new homes, primarily as storm protection in hurricane prone areas and also as a security element.

McKinney “S”™





Hold-opens> Shutter Dogs > Side-mount Shutter Dogs

Side-mount shutter dogs were not uncommon on historic installations.  They provide a means to hold the shutter open by mounting at the side rather than the bottom of the shutter.  They were often used on shuttered doors.  The shutters ran the full height of the door, so came down close to the porch deck with little to no room under the shutter.  These dogs mounted at the mid-height and resolved the height under issue.  Same thing on some second story shutters – a pent roof would often run right to the bottom of the shutters.  Again, just move the tie-backs to the sides.

Another advantage of the side-mount shutter dogs is that they anchor the shutter in the middle, lessening the stress applied to the fastener when the full height of the shutter could apply leverage.

But sometimes it’s just fun to put nice hardware up closer to eye level – it will get noticed.




Holdopens> Shutter Dogs > Optional Mounts

820 Contemporary Sill Mount

Our solution to the too-high tieback problem with the early radius sill mount. The straight arm is ¾” high and easily mounts to the narrower contemporary sill. With the sill arm and tie-back mounting position parallel with the bottom of the shutter sufficient room is provided between the bottom of the shutter and the tie-back for clearance as the shutter is swung from the open position past the tieback. Our standard sill arm is designed to position 3” of the mount on the sill and position the tie-back at ten or fourteen inches from the edge of the sill.

Available in 14, 16 & 18” lengths

Can be applied to any tie-backs.  Pair, add $22.00 to the cost of the selected tieback pattern for the drive mount option.

822 Plate Mount

This style of tie-back mount is very prominently exhibited at Colonial Williamsburg. It was typically seen on structures of clapboard construction. Our plate mounts are fabricated of plate steel and exhibit our standard 1 ¾” stand-off from the structure. Other dimensions are available, or you can modify the elements during installation to customize the fit between shutter and structure.

The plate is 2” x 2” of 1/8” thick steel. 

Can be applied to any tie-backs.  Pair, add $17.50 to the cost of the selected tieback pattern for the drive mount option.

826 Drive Mount

This one is for the purist. They didn’t have lag screws much before the late 1800’s, so most early tie-backs were riveted to their mount and the mount was laid into the masonry as the structure was built. We provide a ½” x ¼” post of five inch overall length. One end is tapered as was often seen on early examples while the other end of the rectangular bar is forged down to a round. The round portion fits through a hole in the tie-back and is heated red-hot then hammered to produce a “rivet head” on the mount – it can’t be removed from the tie-back. The result is an installed tie-back that’s indistinguishable from the originals.

Can be applied to any tie-backs.  Pair, add $32.00 to the cost of the selected tieback pattern for the drive mount option.

825 Dummy Mount

Another Brandywine Forge exclusive. Our “dummy mounts” are unique and designed specifically for non-functional shutters…. Why drill holes in the building to mount tie-backs that don’t really hold the shutters open? “Dummies” allow any of our tiebacks to easily fasten onto the shutter that’s already mounted to the home. They can be positioned to allow any tie-back to mount on the bottom or side of any non-functional shutter – wood or plastic.

3/4" x 2" $8.00











Brandywine Forge Quick Find
. . .