Few castings that I’ve seen over the years have been as distinctive and detailed as the one in this photo. As far as iron beds go, this one was not really spectacular. But I’d say it was easily in the top third of the best ones I’ve had .
The thing that set this bed apart from most others was it’s incredible cast iron “serpentine” feet. They are by far the most elaborate feet I’ve ever had . Most metal beds have simple castings on their feet and usually they are unimaginative and only serve as something to buffer the raw tubing from scraping the hardwood floor. When a bed does have nice cast feet, you can pretty much count on it being a better foundry than most.
Beds throughout the 1800′s usually all had “wheels” that made it easy for the person cleaning the bedroom. Although….. wheels that usually are in the end of the feet castings , are not ones that move and swivel like wheels today. Back when metal beds first were being made, the wheels that manufacturers installed in them were wooden and without any ball bearings. A simple metal shaft and a wooden wheel, after repeated use, was little help in moving some of the larger beds of the day. In fact most of the metal beds I get in have wheels that are flat on one side of the wooden wheel itself. That’s from years of dragging the bed across a floor with the wheel not properly rolling and instead being stuck in one place.
I always tell my customers to remove the wheels on their antique iron beds, because those wheels can do as much harm to the floor as the raw metal tube.