History of Iron Beds
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History of Iron Beds
Authentic antique iron bed frames have something that no newly made piece of furniture can offer.... character and a past.
From the days when Lincoln was in office and Billy the Kid roamed the
wild west to when two brothers named Wilbur and Orville took to the
skies at Kitty Hawk, and when President Woodrow Wilson announced our
entry into the 1st World war, iron beds offered people the handmade
craftsmanship and quality they had come to expect from their era. In 1914 the United States entered the 1st World War, bringing to a close
the production of iron bed frames due to our countries overwhelming need of all available iron for armaments and the war effort.
Four years later when the war ended, styles changed and production methods
were being revolutionized... hence the Industrial Revolution. Hand made
"one of a kind" items, such as iron beds, were no longer cost "effective" and became a thing of the past. There were numerous small foundries
in the East around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wheeling, West Virginia
and as far west as Chicago, Illinois that took great pride in their
own original designs. Sometimes employing only a few people, these small
foundries would take days to make one single iron bed frame.
The iron castings were always hand poured and were originated from sand cast molds. Finishes were varied and could range from simple white to multiple colors with detailed "gold guilding" on the castings. For these reasons and the limited numbers of iron bed frames produced by these small foundries, it is unusual that we uncover the same style cast iron bed more than once. Back in the mid 1800's, for some reason, iron being produced in America was far superior to that of Europe.
Our tubing was thicker walled and the iron castings our artisans designed were much more detailed and fanciful than that of Victorian England. When brass was added, for contrast and ornamentation to the iron, ours was thick and durable. European brass, once again, was very thin and susceptible to cracking and denting. For all of the above reasons we at Cathouse only deal in antique iron bed frames made in this country back in the mid 1800's. Our antique iron bed frames range from 80 to 140 years old. Because they are all American vintage they, are far more collectible, desirable and valuable than any in the world.