Outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…….Chicago has probably more historic background as it relates to iron beds in Chicago back in the 1800’s than any city west of the Mississippi.
There were numerous steel mills and steel producing factories in Chicago back in the 1800’s. So getting the materials that small independently owned foundries needed to build their antique iron beds was much easier being close to the manufacturing mills and factories.
The quality of beds that were being produced in Chicago and surrounding area was higher than those located in smaller cities and towns back east. Not quite sure why that was the case …..but it definitely was. Some of the fancier, higher quality frames I’ve ever seen or had in the past 40 years have come from pickers and dealers in the Chicago area.
Steel and iron mills have ranked among the largest economic enterprises in the Chicago region since before the Civil War. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the area became one of the world’s leading centers of steel production. For much of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of area residents worked to turn iron ore into steel and shape steel into a variety of products such as what we refer to today as antique iron beds.
The iron and steel industry in the Chicago region during the nineteenth century was a function of entrepreneurial effort and geographical advantage. Mills could obtain raw materials from the vast iron ore deposits in the Lake Superior region relatively cheaply and easily. Because most of the iron ore used by the American steel industry during its rise was mined in Minnesota and Michigan, mills located along the Great Lakes were well positioned to enjoy lower costs than their competitors elsewhere, especially after 1924, when U.S. government regulators ended the “Pittsburgh Plus” pricing system that had protected Pennsylvania mills from any competition.
Chicago ranks right up there with Pittsburgh for the impact they made in supply our country with one of the most important house hold furniture items there is……the bed.
I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website
to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.
I also invite you to take a look at our company Face Book page for multiple photo albums on Custom Finishes, Canopy Conversions and a comprehensive “Before & After” King Conversions album.