You might ask …..”why are matching twin size iron beds so difficult to find” ? The best way to understand their rarity is to consider the population and socio-economic make up of our population at the time iron beds were experiencing their greatest popularity in this country. That time was the mid to late 1800’s – the Victorian era. A substantial middle class did not emerge in America until the middle decades of the 19th century Before that time, there were small farmers, skilled workers or artisans, shopkeepers, and the like. These sector of our population were of modest means compared to the elite citizens of their day, their relatively low social status deriving not only from their limited income but also from the fact that they generally engaged in manual labor. By the middle of the 19th century, however, pressures of industrialization had begun, slowly, to dissolve this group. As firms grew larger and more complex, specializing different functions, local manufacturing and home-based businesses were replaced by companies and corporations.
So it should be understood that things like “matching twins” , were an absolute luxury. It was far easier to sleep a family of children in one double size bed, than to take up the space and cost for individual beds. Three and sometimes as many as four children would sleep in one double bed. Only the upper class of that period , had homes large enough, with numerous bedrooms to be able to house a pair of twin beds.
Unfortunately as time and their popularity have grown with todays collectors, matching twin size iron beds have all but run out, and have become one of the most sought after items of that period.
What is more common, than finding a pair of matching twins, is to find one and then try and pair it up with one like it that may have come from a completely different state or area. The two iron beds in this photo are exactly that scenario . We found one outside of Pittsburgh PA and the other on the eastern shore of Maryland. The likelihood is that they were made in the same small independently owned foundry back in the mid 1800’s.