What separates mediocre iron beds from a top level ones………….”castings”. Castings are the foundries way of showing their designers true artistic talents. Over the years I’ve come across beds that had some of the more detailed and unique castings you could imagine.
In the photo’s I’ve attached to this Blog, you’ll see but a few of the incredible castings I’ve seen on beds we’ve had.
There is a rule of thumb that the heavier and more detailed a beds castings are…….the older the bed is. As time went on , it became much more apparent, shipping beds that were lighter in weight……. which meant fewer and smaller castings, was much easier and much less costly.
But the detailing that goes into a bed is it’s signature mark. Some manufacturers used many of the same castings and molds on all of their different designs and models. Some of the molds needed to be altered to fit different size tubing with different entry “gates” and for curved pieces. But the actual casting design was the same. When this is the case, it is one of the few things that enable us to date a bed and also give some of it historical origin. Many beds came from the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania area. Although some came from as far west as Chicago or as far south as Baton Rouge Louisiana.
Iron beds were famous for not being transported very far from their origin. So when a number of them are found in a particular area, with the same castings …….. you can pretty much bet the foundry that produced them isn’t that far away.
Later on when the railroad tracks were laid that opened the territory west of the Mississippi, they would be found as far west as California and as far north as Alaska. But castings would always be an indicator of where a bed may have started life from.
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.