Back in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, Europe was going full bore in their production of iron beds. We picked up the calling in the early 1800’s and far eclipsed any of the beds Europe was making. There were a few distinctions that set our beds apart from those beds being made throughout Europe and England. One of those major differences were the castings we were pouring on our beds, as opposed to those that the British were pouring.
Castings being poured on their iron beds throughout Europe and England were very unimaginative in their design and clarity. They tended to be merely a necessary function to hold the iron spoke and bed together. They were plain and rarely ever had any distinctive design to them. Whereas……… the castings our foundries designed and poured on our beds were extremely detailed.
Many of those castings were floral designs. Some more detailed and beautiful than others.
I often wondered why some specific flowers were more popular than others on the beds we were producing. Then one day a news feed came across Google about the meaning of a particular flower, and it all started to make sense……..
Although the legendary associations and religious meanings of flower symbolism have existed for centuries, the use of the symbolic meaning of flowers on beds to represent emotions was developed to a high degree during Victorian times. Due to the strict protocol of the times, emotions, wishes and thoughts were not openly expressed between men and women. Instead, an elaborate language based on flower symbolism was developed. Gifts of either single flowers or bouquets conveyed clear messages to the recipient. Iron beds with such symbols also carried the same emotions and message.
During the Victorian era, flowers adorned nearly everything–hair, clothing, jewelry, home decor, china plates, stationary, wallpaper, furniture………not to mention iron beds.
Daisy’s were by far one of the more popular floral castings used . The flower symbolism associated with the daisy is purity, innocence, loyal love, beauty, patience and simplicity. Daisies are often depicted in meadows in Medieval paintings, also known as a “flowery mead.” Daisies are believed to be more than 4,000 years old and hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete. Even further back, Egyptian ceramics were decorated with daisies.
The Chrysanthemum is another popular flower I’ve had on some of the better, fancier beds I’ve ever had. The flower symbolism associated with the chrysanthemum is abundance, wealth, cheerfulness, optimism, truth (white), hope, rest and wonderful friendship, I love (red), slighted love (yellow). The Japanese put a single chrysanthemum petal on the bottom of a wine glass to sustain a long and healthy life. Japanese emperors sat on the Chrysanthemum throne. The name is derived from the feminine form of Greek Chrysanthos, meaning “golden flower.”
Probably one of the most popular floral castings used on our beds in this country was the Tulip. The flower symbolism associated with tulips is fame and perfect love. The symbolic meanings also change with the color of the tulips. Red tulips mean “believe me” and are a declaration of love. Variegated tulips mean “you have beautiful eyes.” Yellow tulips mean “there’s sunshine in your smile.” And cream colored tulips mean “I will love you forever.” Tulips are the foremost national symbol of Holland, rivaling wooden shoes and windmills!
So there you have it……..the floral meaning behind castings we poured on our beds way back n the 1800’s.
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.
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