Over the years, I’ve had quite a few people that weren’t crazy about brass on their bed. But back in the 1800’s the manufacturers of iron beds were desperately trying to offer the brass bed market a better, stronger bed, yet still give a touch of the then popular “brass trim”. With brass the public was limited to one look… one color…..one feel. Metal beds offered a stronger more durable framework that didn’t make the noise that was inherent in brass beds. Because all the points of connecting one rod to another or one tube to another were cast together, there was no friction when there was movement in the bed…….hence….no noise. All of the connecting points on a brass bed were with screws and small brass balls that had to be continually tightened.
Iron beds also offered the public the ability to determine what color they wanted in their room. No longer were they stuck with the boring look of all brass. Most manufacturers offered any color you could show they. Because a bed had to be painted to preserve the iron, it didn’t matter to the manufacturer what color it was. To them it was only important to sell the bedframe…. not get hung up on the color. Although the majority of people think iron beds were mostly painted white, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Greens, blues , reds and black were very popular colors back in the 1800’s. The majority of beds still being found today have dozens of coats and colors of paint on them. Even “two tone” combinations were popular back then……. as they are today and with us.
But occasionally a buyer would love the design of a bed that happen to have brass on it. But they didn’t want the brass. That also happens to be the case today with decorators and clients alike who’s decor just doesn’t work with brass. When that is the case we are asked to either try and replace the brass with iron tubing or rods, or paint the existing brass. As was the case with the photo you see here.
It’s important, when painting brass to ruff up the brass with either sandpaper ir a very lite sandblasting. When sandblasting, care has to be taken not to over blast or blow through the brass tubing. For the paint to bond properly the brass has to bond with the primer that goes on first. You should always use two thick coats of primer, and be sure they dry adequately before applying the next color you want to see.
If done properly, painted brass can look as natural as the rest of your beautifully restored antique iron bed.