Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Doorbells | Doorfit

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Doorbells

Ding-dong! Doorbells have been a familiar household sound since the 1900s and are still the best way for visitors to alert us of their presence. Read our blog to discover everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about this ever-popular piece of door furniture. 

Who invented doorbells? 

Many believe that the Victorians were the first people to use doorbells. Primarily mechanical, these now-primitive devices came in two varieties: twist doorbells and pull doorbells. Twist doorbells relied on a key-like mechanism to gain attention, whereas pull doorbells required visitors to pull a chain or string. Pull doorbells were also used internally by wealthy households as a way of calling for their servants. 

What about the electric doorbell?  

Joseph Henry, an eminent American scientist, invented electric doorbells in 1831. In spite of this, they did not become commonplace until after 1913, when the introduction of electric transformers allowed them to run on a household’s electrical current instead of expensive batteries. 


Doorfit offers a variety of different doorbells

Further innovations brought about musical door chimes as the century progressed, and many preferred these to the monotonous buzzers that came before. The creation of wireless doorbells in the 1970s and video options in the mid-2010s brings us to where we are today. 

What did we do before doorbells?

Before doorbells, many households used door knockers. These less-sophisticated devices became popular in 16th century England and dominated the door furniture market until the doorbell’s invention. 

Although still in use today, door knockers often lose out to doorbells because their sound does not travel as far. They also have a bit of an unsavoury past and were invented by the Ancient Greeks to tether slaves to their front doors to welcome visitors. 

How do they work?

Wired doorbells consist of three parts: the button (or push), the chime and the transformer. These parts require wires to connect to each other and the main power supply. When a visitor presses the button, current flows to the transformer and is converted into the lower voltage required to power the chime. 

Wireless doorbells, invented in the 1970s, comprise two parts: a transmitter and a receiver. When someone presses the button (the transmitter), it sends a signal to the receiver (usually a device that plugs into a socket), which then plays a sound. Wireless models are popular because they require no wiring and are easy to install. 

Byron doorbells are available from Doorfit
Video doorbells, which are wired or wireless, allow homeowners to communicate with visitors via an app. The Byron models available at Doorfit have an in-built security camera with night vision and playback capabilities. They can also connect with wireless chime kits and automatic door openers to offer even greater functionality. 

What causes a doorbell to ring on its own? 

Phantom doorbell ringing is usually easy to explain. 

In the case of wired doorbells, the problem is either a sticking button or an electrical short.  

To fix a sticking button, try and remove any trapped dirt or insects and clean the device gently. You can even use a small amount of WD-40 to loosen things up. 

Checking for a short is a little more complicated and requires a basic understanding of DIY. After shutting off the power, remove the cover of the chime box and take the outside button off the wall. If wires at either end appear loose or damaged, use electrical tape to patch them up. It may sometimes be necessary to replace the wire completely. If this is the case, make sure you know what you’re doing. Call in a professional if you don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself. 


most doorbells are easy to fix

Wireless doorbells will encounter problems if they operate on the same frequency band as other radio-controlled devices such as garage door openers. In this instance, switching frequencies can usually solve the issue. Other potential culprits for unexpected wireless doorbell ringing include corrosion, moisture and dying batteries. Again, you should seek outside help to rectify these problems if you can’t fix them yourself. 

Doorfit: the door furniture experts 

At Doorfit, we stock a wide range of wired and wireless doorbells, alongside many high-performance chime kits and video doorbells. Explore our selection today to find the perfect style and finish for your home, or contact us directly if you have any further questions.