Graphical Construction Glossary >> stairs. >> general >> Handrail Scroll
This beatifull old carved scroll is in the St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate parish church in central London. The church was founded in 1137 and this piece of English joinery predates the sailing of the Mayflower to the new world by many years.
" Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee".
The function of a scroll is purely decorative and many modern staircase do not use them or only give a slight nod to their existance.
The term is derived from it's similarity to the common representation of a scroll (partly unrolled parchment) or to the scrolls on top of Greek columns. The form is a decreasing spiral.
The geometry is fairly simple as it is a series of 90deg. circular arcs of diminishing size.
The term mainly used in the US is Volute which is a fair enough description of the item. What I do disagree with is the modern trend of dumbing down perfectly good and descriptive technical terms. There is one US stair manufacturer (who shall be nameless) who actually calls these scrolls "Frying Pans". The mind boggles.
Another quite nice handrail volute.
On odd occaisions we see a vertically orientated scroll. Mostly it s done in metal, with tubing just having a semicircular end to it. This particular photo though shows a really nice wrought iron one. It is also a true scrollin the respect that it is a diminishing spriral.
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"What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
"When we build, let us think that we build for ever."John Ruskin 1819-1900
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