|The dichotomy of today’s beautiful antique iron canopy beds and bed frames lay in there utilitarian origin. Medieval construction left much to be desired. Ill-kept thatch roofs did little to prevent dead bugs and rodent droppings from falling on to a peasant’s bed. As is the case….”necessity is the mother of invention”, it was found that the construction of four posts, on the corners of the bed, with a sheet hung over the top, afforded the occupant some degree of protection.
Although the more affluent land owners who lived in stone castles and people fortunate enough to have homes constructed of stone and ceiling tiles, also used canopy beds. But for entirely different reasons. Early European castles had what were called “great halls”. Not only did the Lord of the manor and his family sleep in this room, all his servants did as well. The Lord’s family slept at one end of the large hall and the servants at the other. The canopy bed, with its thick curtains, afforded the families some degree of “privacy”. As castles were built with separate sleeping chambers, canopy beds with curtains, no longer were used for privacy but were now being used for warmth.
The “utilitarian” need for canopy beds is long gone. But there are still some countries and climates where canopy beds are used for protection from mosquitoes and bugs. Although iron canopy beds were popular in Europe in the early 1800’s, next to none were made in this country at that time. Little is known why. So we at Antique Iron Beds by Cathouse are glad to help correct that minor historical faux pas.