Wonderful discovery: A hardware store three blocks from work
Purchase: One bottle of Brasso
Use: Polishing the door hardware throughout the house
Step 1: Brass plate on the swinging door to the kitchen is completely black.
Step 2: A little Brasso and elbow grease reveals some shine.
Step 3: A little more Brasso and elbow grease makes it pretty.
It's not perfect yet, but what a difference. Soon all of our doorknobs and hinges will shine like new. This is the satisfaction I've been searching for--a little work for a lot of payoff.