A newel, also called a central pole or support column, is the central supporting pillar of a staircase. It can also (usually as "newel post") refer to an upright post that supports the handrail of a stair banister. 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.
Newels are sometimes called solid newels in distinction from hollow newels due to varying techniques of construction. Newel posts turned on a lathe are solid pieces that can be highly decorative, they typically need to be fixed to a square newel base for installation. Hollow newels are known more accurately as box newel posts. 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.
A cast iron spiral staircase clearly showing the central newel post that supports the treads, risers and balustrade.
spiral staircase at Fort Benjamin Hawkins
- Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary
- Glossary of Australian Building Terms - Third Edition.(NCRB)
- Carpentry and Joinery - Volume Three - Dowsett and Stevens.
- Distinctive Wood Designs Inc. (2010) "Newel Post Styles", 1.
- Newel Posts and Newel Postlore, old house web
- Secret compartment within a box newel post, woodstairs.com
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Newel". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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