The use of “Symbolism” in the castings of iron beds was a strong continuous theme throughout the 1800’s. Small independently owned foundries made beautiful molds of floral arrangements, animals, and mythical characters as symbols, their patrons wanted in the 1800’s.
One of the most popular symbols back then, that most beds employed in some way shape or form was the “pineapple”. In colonial America, hostesses would set a fresh pineapple in the center of their dining table when visitors joined their families in their homes. Visiting was the primary means of entertainment and cultural exchange, so the concept of hospitality was a central element in colonial life. The pineapple, then, symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests, and then often it also served as the dessert for the meal. If the visitors spent the night, they would be given a bedroom with a bed in which pineapples had been carved on either the bedposts or the headboard — even if that was the master bedroom. As the colonial era ended and time moved into the Victorian, furniture manufacturers would continue to use the “pineapple” theme of hospitality in their beds.
Most foundries of the day that produced metal beds, had their own castings that employed the use of pineapples. The most prominent place iron beds displayed this symbol of hospitality was on their four poster corners.
The bed in this photo is a very thin gauge bed that has been given somewhat more importance with the use of beautifully small detailed “pineapples” on the four posters.
Antique iron beds like this were usually used in the guest room as a symbol of obvious hospitality.
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