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Antique Finials

Finials are ornamental objects designed to mark the end or peak of an object. Antique finials are typically carved by hand and made with ornate embellishments. They may be used for architectural ornaments, household furnishings, or on consumer goods, and they are typically permanently placed onto the item.

What are the styles of decorative finials?
  • Gothic: A Gothic finial may take on the shape of a gargoyle or a dragon design.
  • Geometric: A geometric design for a finial is often used on the top of a rooftop or on a flagpole.
  • Pineapple: A pineapple finial is common on a Newel post, stairs, or staircase.
  • Oak and acorn: An oak or acorn finial is often used on stairs or a staircase. The acorn finial is also common on a lamp, shade pull, or small flag's extension pole.
  • People and animals: Finials in the shape of people or animals are often used on a Newel post, staircase, or stairs.
What materials are finials made from?
  • Wood: Wood is a common resource used for antique finials inside of a house. A wood acorn finial or wood pineapple finial is common on a Newel post. Woods used in an acorn finial are typically the same wood used in a staircase for a seamless look. A wood acorn finial is usually made of oak.
  • Brass: This kind of metal finial is often used in the design of a lampshade, light chain pull, decorative spoon, or flag's pole. This type of finial offers durability because the metal does not expand much when it is exposed to extreme temperatures. On a marble staircase, the finial might be made of brass.
  • Copper or cast iron: Copper or cast iron are materials often used for a finial used on the rooftop of a building or a house. These metals develop a patina on the finial and last for a long time. Antique copper or cast-iron finials are usually highly sculpted or geometric in their design.
How do you use a finial?

Finials may be used for architectural purposes, typically on the bell tower, spire, or dome of a large building. Large houses with a dome may have a spire on the top. Staircases often have a Newel post, which is typically pineapple-, oak-, or acorn-shaped. The Newel post is usually made of the same color and finish as the rails and stair banister. The Newel post is turned on a lathe and carved by hand. A finial may be attached to the pull string of a ceiling fan, shade, or light bulb chain pull. The top of a lampshade often has a finial on the top for keeping the shade in balance. Bed posts typically have a finial on top, and antique beds often have ornate finials. Souvenir spoons may have a finial on the tip of the handle. Inground flagpoles and hanging flag poles also commonly have finials, often in the shape of an eagle.

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