A iron sleigh bed is a style of bed with curved or scrolled foot and headboards thus resembling a sled or sleigh. Often made with a top bar of brass and quite heavy, the sleigh bed is a result of the French and American Empire period of the early 19th century. The Empire style drew its inspiration from the empires of ancient Rome and Greece.
Although the most popular sleigh beds were wooden, iron beds started designing their own form of sleigh beds so as to compete for the wooden sleigh bed market. Metal beds were taking over in popularity from the previously more popular wooden beds. So metal bed manufacturers thought it best to really zero in on what style wooden beds experienced the most popularity over the years…..prior to metal beds stepping into the spot light.
To achieve the sleigh bed effect, foundries designed a cast iron corner casting that would screw down on to the corners of the bed and offset a horizontal brass bar that would then go from corner to corner. Few beds that had this “sleigh bed” effect, had much more going for them self other than this trick little style enhancer.
But as the metal bed market grew stronger and stronger, it would continue to try and find new designs that would eventually catapult it into first position. Antique Iron beds were on the move.
Old wooden sleigh beds were very limited in the “look” they were able to offer a customer. Metal beds that were in the sleigh bed style were able to offer a multitude of finishes and colors, along with brass trim to try and pull in the brass bed market.