Close to 40 years ago I started buying and selling antique brass beds. It was purely a part time hobby that turned in to a career I’ve been doing the better part of my life. Although I now specialize in iron beds from the same period of time in the 1800’s. I started in brass beds because they were so prevalent and easy to come by. Brass beds were being used by the upper class population, whereas iron beds were being used more commonly by the middle and lower socioeconomic levels. But that also meant that there were far fewer brass beds made than iron beds.
Because far fewer brass beds were made for a smaller group of the population back in the 1800’s, it stands to reason fewer of them would have survived over the years and be available today.
Because of their scarcity, I stopped dealing in brass beds only a few years after starting in the business because of their scarcity. For me, iron beds were a perfect transition to get in to. Between 35 to 40 years ago, they were so plentiful, there was very little value placed on them. The first dozen beds I had were ones that had been given to me as an inducement to buy the brass bed a dealer or picker had. After that I had farmers throughout Pennsylvania get my phone # and would call me to come haul beds they had on their property away……for nothing. I can remember some people that would sweeten the deal of picking up and hauling their beds by paying for my gas or throwing in some antique they may have setting around that wasn’t all that valuable back then.
With regard to the big tube brass beds like the one I’ve posted here………they were almost always thick sheets of brass wrapped around metal tubing. Brass was way too soft a metal to build or construct with. So to give it the strength that iron beds possessed, manufacturers decided it made perfect sense to wrap thick sheets of brass around the tubing. So the term “pure brass bed” is really a fallacy. The only time a bed was made with pure brass was when they made it with square tubing. That was also closer to the late 1800’sand early 1900’s.
Iron beds really picked up the reins when brass beds became scarce. The popularity of iron beds has grown an far exceeded the popularity of brass beds over the years. Due to the numbers that iron beds were made in.
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.