You may not be aware of the fact that there are no manufacturers making iron beds today out of iron. All reproductions being made today are using aluminum to pour their castings. Why you ask…… The answer is three fold.
First: Aluminum is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth’s crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. Making it readily available. Aluminium has about one-third the density and stiffness of steel. It is easily machined, cast, drawn and extruded.
Second: For the purpose of being able to pour castings in a foundry aluminum melts at nearly half the temperature (1220 degrees F), as cast iron(2230 degrees F). Making it much less costly and easy to melt and pour beds in today’s foundries.
Third: Aluminum can be filed and is malleable.
These three reason are why no manufacturer of iron beds uses cast iron as they did in the old days. It’s way to costly.
One way you can easily tell a reproduction from an original antique iron bed is to use a magnet against the castings. Aluminum will not attract the magnet, making it a reproduction. When beds were made back in the 1800’s only cast iron was used and cast iron castings will attract the magnet.
Unfortunately beds made of aluminum are not as rigid and strong as original ones made of cast iron back in the 1800’s. Aluminum is such a soft metal, manufacturers are unable to run a newly made bed through a sandblasting booth more than once for fear of losing significant definition and detailing on the casting.
One of the reasons beds, that were made back in the 1800’s of cast iron, are still around today in the same original condition…… and can stand up to as many sand blasting’s as you can give it, is the strength and durability of cast iron.
It took real artisans to pour cast iron into the small sand cast molds the foundries used to make their beds. Today’s beds, which should be called aluminum beds instead, use cast iron molds because the melting temperature of aluminum is so low.
Aluminum has many practical applications in today’s manufacturing. Many of which cast iron wouldn’t be good for. But iron beds is not one of them.
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.