When To Use Double Action Hinges | Double Acting Hardware

When To Use Double Action Hinges | Double Acting Hardware

Posted by Amanda On 1st Feb 2023

Double Action Hinges: How It All Works Together

Double Action Hinges: How It All Works Together

Have you seen a Western movie or TV show and wondered how saloon doors stay centered? They use something called 'double-action hinges'—here's how they work.

At least 25% of all films made from 1910-1960 were Westerns. They've become a major part of Hollywood's legacy, conjuring up images of cowboys bursting into a saloon to catch a villain.

In reality, this wouldn't be possible without double-action hinges that allow saloon doors to swing open and close automatically. They've been around for decades but continue to add classic style and easy access to businesses and residences.

Read our guide to double-action hinges to learn more about their history, the benefits they provide, how they work, the different types you can choose from, and where to find one.

History of the Saloon Door

A saloon door is a double door that can swing in both directions. They can do this thanks to a special piece of hardware known as a double-action hinge.

The exact history of the saloon door is uncertain, but they've always been part of the Old West. They made it easy to enter and exit. Saloon owners loved how they removed smoke and let fresh air in.

Lorenz Bommer made this possible when he patented the first double-acting spring hinge in 1980. It allowed doors to close on their own. In a way, he created the first automatic locking device. Bommer eventually created a thriving business based on double-action hinges and other products. His company still provides quality door hinges today.

Saloon doors are still popular. They come in several designs, including modern, barn style, traditional, louver, and western.

Today, you can install a saloon door in almost any room. It can add flair to your business and works in residential locations. Consider placing one in your kitchen, pantry, master bathroom, laundry room, or home office.

Benefits of Saloon Doors

Saloon doors provide several benefits, none of which would be possible without double-action hinges.

The most obvious benefit of a saloon door is that it stays shut. You'll never have to worry if you closed the door again.

The easy opening and closing of a saloon door also help anyone who's carrying large loads in and out of a building. They also make it easier to clean the floor because dirt can be pushed right out the door.

A saloon door fits in wide spaces where you would otherwise not be able to install a door. They're also one of the simplest types to install.

Saloon doors allow you to use the same space for an entrance and exit. They swing in both directions and allow patrons going in and out to see each other.

Saloon doors can even increase the aesthetic appeal of a room. They help divide large spaces and provide an iconic style.

Saloon doors also make your room healthier while making it look better. They increase ventilation and lighting, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of clean air and stronger sunlight.

How Double-Action Hinges Work

A traditional door hinge has components like a capstan that allow it to rotate and allow a door to open and close.

Double action hinges are different because they let doors swing in both directions. They use a tension rod and springs or ramps to bring the door back to the center.

Double-action hinges are made of two connected hinges, with one sitting outside the door frame on the left and the other connected to the door frame on the right. They unfold in one direction and behave like normal hinges in the other direction.

Types of Double-Action Hinges

Like any piece of hardware, double-action hinges have continued to develop over the years. They come in several flavors that fit into two main types; gravity and spring hinges.

Gravity Hinges

Gravity hinges use the force of gravity to bring the door back to the center and close it. A small ramp pushes the door open and slides back down when it's closed.

Gravity hinges come in several different finishes, allowing you to customize them to the look of your business or home. They also come in standard, premium, and commercial grades.

Commercial Grade

Commercial grade gravity hinges are also known as pivot hinges. Despite their name, they work well in commercial and residential settings.

These double-action hinges have a load weight of up to 50lb per door. They can include a hold-open feature and keep doors open 90° in either direction.

Commercial grade gravity hinges require a 7/8" radius on the side attached to your door or a 1/16" shim with 5/32" of spacing.

Finish options include primed, satin brass, satin chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and bright black. For a set of doors, you would want to order two hinges because they are sold individually.

Premium Grade

Premium grade gravity hinges are made of several components including a steel bracket, diecast steel pivot, and nylon bearings. They're the quietest option on the market.

Premium grade gravity hinges can handle tall and heavy doors with a load weight of up to 50lbs per door. They require a 7/16" gap from the door jamb.

Brass finish is the only option you have. You'll also have to buy multiple hinges if you have more than one door because they're only sold individually.


Standard gravity hinges are made with plastic or metal top-mounting brackets. They can hold doors open up to 125° in either direction but must rotate the entire way for this feature to work.

They're best for light louvre doors because they have a lower load weight of only up to 30lbs per door.

Standard gravity hinges offer several finish options. You can choose brass with a plastic top mounting bracket. If you choose all-metal mounting brackets, your options include brass, satin chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and matte black.

Spring Hinges

Spring hinges use springs to open and close the door instead of a ramp and the force of gravity. They have adjustable tension but don't include a hold-open feature.

Commercial grade spring hinges come in a variety of sizes from and also offer a variety of finishes. They're mounted on the side of a door frame and allow for maximum door height. Double action hinges are available in a wide range of sizes including 3", 4", 5", 6", and 7".

Where to Get Double Action Hinges

Saloon doors with double action hinges are as much a part of the Old West as cowboys and bar fights. They've been around for centuries and continue to show up in businesses and homes.

Double Action Hinges can go by many names including cafe door hinges/hardware, saloon door hinges/hardware, double swing hinges, double action hinges, and double acting hinges. 

The various types of double-action hinges all fall into two categories; gravity and spring. They come in different grades with a range of finish options to suit your needs and style.

Choosing the right supplier is the best way to get quality hardware, and Swinging Cafe Doors is a provider you can trust. Browse our saloon door hinges today.