There have been a few companies that go above and beyond in their efforts to maintain the exact duplication of the original iron beds they’re copying. This can be difficult for numerous reasons, the least of which are the aluminum castings and bed frame connection plates. The aluminum castings do not allow the clarity and definition that poured cast iron, which is what all original old beds have.
The connecting “hitch” plates are always lower than the much higher connecting side rails the old beds had and consequently throw off the proportions of what the designer back in the 1800’s intended the bed to have. Hitch plates are put at a lower level for a couple of modern day reasons……..First : Today’s box springs and mattresses are sometimes as much as a foot to a foot and a half taller than the small spring unit and feather mattress that was traditionally used. So the hitch plates bring the frame level down closer to the floor so people are able to get into bed within the use of a step stool. Second: People like to use “dust ruffles” on their beds. Dust ruffle drop length, in the stores today are 13″ drop length. That means the “reproductions” side rail frame is at about 5″. To use a dust ruffle on an antique iron bed, that the rail system “starts at 13″, with a newer box spring that is usually a minimum of 8″…….. the drop length will be 21”. Dust ruffles for original old iron beds have to be custom made by a seamstress. Not something you can buy off the shelf in a store.
So although there is a distinct difference between “reproductions” and “original”. Why would someone want to alter the design of an antique iron bed? Simple…….they’ve seen a design, or elements of a design they like, and haven’t been able to find a bed that incorporates it. When that is the case and they don’t have a problem with altering the original design, we hera at Cathouse Beds will help them modify the original design and try to keep only elements from other original old beds. In doing it this way, we’re really not trying to introduce a design element of our own to change the bed. We’re strictly using designs and design elements from other beds that were being made at the same time. In so doing, the bed will have a much more authentic look. This is where most reproducers of iron beds miss the mark. They tend to inject they own modern day designs into what they are calling and “replica” of an old bed. Many of the beds that are on the market today , were never designs being made back in the 1800’s. They are strictly one persons blind consept of what they think may have been an antique design.
The thing I find crazy about most reproduction companies is that there are a countless number of original designs from the 1800’s that they could be using. Designs that are far more beautiful and detailed than anything being made today. A lot of the time a manufacturer today won’t make an original old design because it’s not cost effective. There are too many curves, scrolls and castings that make the bottom line cost……too expensive.
The photo I have here is an original antique iron bed that we have done a couple of alternate designs for the client. All of the proposed changes are from other original beds I either have or have had in the past. I usually post these designs on our company Facebook page to get our readers “feedback”. In the instance of this beds posting a good client fom back in New York suggested the second outer curve design……..which seems to have been the most popular with everyone that has seen it. I’ve been doing this for more years than I care to mention…….but by keeping an open mind, the suggestion of someone who isn’t in the field, yet has a good design sense……..really help us come up with a great look.
Fresh design ideas ……….. yet from old designs. It’s a fun process designing something, using only those designs that were definitely used back in the 1800’s…….not the 21st Century.
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.