I’d say close to 85% of all the iron beds that were being made in the 1800′s used side rails that had a conical shape on the end much like that of an ice cream cone. They would drop down in to the reverse image that had been cast around the beds side tubing. Although most side rails look alike……beware…….they are not interchangeable. That conical shape was indigenous to iron beds yet each foundry and manufacturer of iron beds made their own molds so that their rails only fit their particular catalog of beds.
Early on when foundries were trying to determine what would be the best shape for their beds, many different shapes and designs were used. But it didn’t take log to determine the best side rail would be the conical shape side rail.
One of the numerous side rail configurations that was used more than most of the others was the “pin rails”.As you can see in the photo, it required the use of a “spike or pin” that was hand forged and formed. The bed this was used on had a “block hitch” that was poured in cast iron around the tube of the iron bed, right at the point which the side rail would enter it with the loop on the end and then the “pin would drop down into the “block hitch” and because of the tapper on the pin, would then tighten and pull the loop tight inside the block.
The leading problem with the old bed rail systems was the eventual loss of the pins and also the loops on the end of the side rail had a tendency to work themselves loose.
I’ve had numerous beds with “pin rails”, over the years, and only rarely encounter any problems.
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