Lincoln was in office and Billy the Kid roamed the wild west. There were two brothers named Wilbur and Orville who 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 beds, 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 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 beds castings. For these reasons and the limited numbers of metal bed frames produced by these small foundries, it is unusual that we uncover the same style 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 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.
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 the multiple “Before & After” photo’s on our company Facebook at