LONDON — Wooden door hangers, like the ones used to house the old wooden houses of Europe, are on the decline, with a recent report highlighting the dangers of the material.
In a study of wood products from 1760 to 2011, researchers at the University of Sussex found the majority of wood hangings worldwide were of the type that used to be in use.
The study, published online Monday in the journal Science, examined more than 2,300 items from 1857 to 2015.
The report found that wooden door hangs were used to hang objects from the ceiling and to hang books in a variety of ways.
The report also found that wood hangers are less popular today, with the majority now made from other materials.
“There is a general trend towards wood hanging being replaced by materials that have less health and environmental risks,” said Dr. Andrew Stirling, an assistant professor of wood and environmental science at the university.
Stirling said there are three main reasons for this: the advent of industrial production in the late 19th century, the industrialisation of the Americas and China in the 20th century and the advent and widespread availability of the internet in the 21st century.
There are now hundreds of thousands of people around the world who use wood hangars, and many are not aware of the hazards.
They tend to use them in their homes as a way of covering up unfinished floors, he said.
Wood hangers have become popular as a form of decorating because they are relatively cheap and they do not require much maintenance, he added.
While some people think that wooden doors will last longer, in reality they will probably break in the long run.
But some experts warn that people should not rely on the word of the experts.
“It is a matter of education,” said the report’s co-author, David Gershenson, a lecturer in history and culture at the British Museum.
Gershenton said that in addition to the potential health hazards, there is also the potential for the materials to be used as a “weapon” by criminals.
“There is no doubt that if you use these materials in an illegal way, you are liable to end up in court,” he said, noting that there have been several cases where criminals used wood hangiers to hang weapons.
Some people also use wooden door-locks as a security measure, he noted.
“If you lock a door, the criminal is going to be able to access the lock from the outside and can then open the door,” Gersheton said.
Stirling also said that the majority use wooden hinges, which can be difficult to fix, especially for people who are blind.
He said that although wooden doors were used for decades, the trend toward more environmentally friendly materials has also been evident.
“The advent of sustainable materials in the last few decades has made wooden door hinges and door locks a lot less expensive,” he explained.
For example, many European countries have started making all wood hinges and lockpicks out of recycled materials and plastic, Gershinson added.
Stories like this can help people to understand how the wood hang, or door lock, actually works, he pointed out.
“We need to be more educated on the way that things work and on the material they are made of,” he concluded.
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