Menchalach – Wooden shutter stoppers
The Menchalach are a type of hasp (or stopper) for wooden shutters. They were common in Tel Aviv in the early 20th century. The Menchalach kept the shutter wing open and protected from the wind. Local legends say the Menchalach actually had a more significant use – A secret code between the city’s lovers to signal if the house was empty and available or if someone was around and the amorous meeting had to be cancelled.
The origin of the word is “Mench” in Yiddish because of its shape – Different figurines of both humans and animals. The most common characters were a man in a fancy vest and a hat, and a woman with a flower on her lapel wearing a hat with wide rims. Other characters one might find around the city are a solider wearing a helmet or animals such as lions, dogs and dragons.
The Menchalach are made of two parts:
The character – A head and neck of a man, woman or an animal cast in bronze.
The leg – Attached to the “character” on one side and to the wall on the other with a unique mechanism. At Noga Nagarut we developed a thread that allows the leg to be installed on the wall with modern work methods.
In Israel, the Menchalach belong in a variety of architectural time periods adorning Jaffa’s newer houses, the Templer neighborhoods and the first houses built in Tel Aviv in neighborhoods like Ahuzat Bayit and Neve Tzedek. Each style of architecture has its own Menchalach.
Bronze cast Menchalach are regularly added to our wing shutters according to the original plans, made in our factory. We’re one of the very few suppliers still manufacturing them.
Our bronze Menchalach are also sold as unique decorative hangers.