One of the most unique and collectible casting , used on antique iron beds, was the “hollow wreath” casting. Generally speaking, if a bed has one of these type castings……. there’s a pretty good chance it’s a good bed.
When foundries poured castings to complete the process of building iron beds, it’s done by hand using an iron ladle, a large long-handled spoon with a cup-shaped bowl. It’s specifically made for transporting molten metal in a foundry. The trick was to pour the molten liquid iron at just the right speed so as not to cause heat cracks in the casting before it cooled. The other difficult thing was pouring large castings on a iron bed. Here again, if they weren’t poured with the right speed, the iron would start to cool to soon and the molds would not fill properly. It was a real art.
Only a “craftsman” with the proper knowledge of foundry work, was capable of pouring a wreath casting . It took a steady hand and the perfect flow to fill a wreath mold.
But when done properly, the iron beds that had them , was usually a real work of art.
As was always the case, bed manufacturers, were always trying to outdo their competitors. Because the wreath casting took more expertise in the foundry, a foundry that was capable of producing beds with wreath castings usually set themselves apart for other foundries that made more utilitarian bed frames.
The wreath casting first came about as a unique symbol of “greeting”. A “wreath” on the front door during the holidays was a welcome symbol to strangers.
A wreath is usually an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs and/or various materials that is constructed to resemble a ring. They are used typically as Christmas decorations to symbolize the coming of Christ, also known as the Advent season in Christianity. They are also used as festive headdresses as attire in ceremonial events in many cultures around the globe. Wreaths have much history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength, as evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters. Bay laurel may also be used, and these wreaths are known as laurel wreath.
The use of wreaths varies by culture, tradition and religions. In Christianity, it is used to prepare for Jesus’ birth and in many cultures around the world, wreaths are used in weddings as a headdress. The history behind wreaths dates back thousands of years and much of the symbolism lies with Greek mythology, Roman tradition with the present day usage being focused on Advent and for festive décor.