Is there an imprint in the finish caused by the sharp edge of another piece?
Your best tool is knowledge of what the correct hardware looked like for each style and period in which you have an interest.
The use of high pressure rollers during the Federal period increased output even more.
No longer did decorative pulls have to be engraved or chased individually.
An excellent example of this kind of work is the ornate oval backplate of Hepplewhite pulls of the early 1800s with flags, acorns and leaves embossed on them.The backs of this type of hardware were often left with the impression of the sand while the faces were polished.Around the middle of the 18th century the customary blend of copper and zinc was changed to include more copper, giving the alloy more of a reddish cast than the pale yellow brass used for hardware earlier in the century.In the Queen Anne period, the bail was inserted into the round heads of posts implanted in the backplate.
The ends of the bail entered the posts from the inside and the bail hung between the two posts.Carefully examine the wood and the finish revealed when the brass is gone.