Newel

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A newel, also called a central pole, is the central supporting pillar of a spiral staircase. It can also (usually as "newel post") refer to an upright post that supports the handrail of a stair banister.[1][2][3] In stairs having straight flights it is the principal post at the foot of the staircase, but it can also be used for the intermediate posts on landings and at the top of a staircase. Although its primary purpose is structural, newels have long been adorned with decorative trim and designed with different architectural styles.[4]

Newels are sometimes called solid newels in distinction from hollow newels due to varying techniques of construction. In historic homes, it is believed that the house plans were placed in the newel upon completion of the house before the newel was capped.[5][6]

A loose ball cap finial on the newel post at the base of the stairway is a plot device in the 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life." The same is used in jest in the 1989 film "Christmas Vacation."

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary
  2. ^ Glossary of Australian Building Terms - Third Edition.(NCRB)
  3. ^ Carpentry and Joinery - Volume Three - Dowsett and Stevens.
  4. ^ Distinctive Wood Designs Inc. (2010) "Newel Post Styles", 1.
  5. ^ Newel Posts and Newel Postlore, old house web
  6. ^ Secret compartment within a box newel post, woodstairs.com