I’m often asked why some style iron beds are more plentiful than others? Sounds like a simple enough question, and should have a rather uncomplicated answer………. not the case.
There are a couple of things that can effect how prolific one particular style bed is. One of those things is the size of the foundry or manufacturer. The larger the business that was turning them out, back in the 1800’s, the more there would have been. The majority of the foundries that were producing beds back in the 1800’s, were often no larger than two or three employees. Often they would only produce one or two iron beds a day. Then there were large foundries that employed as many as 50 men. These foundries turned out considerably more beds and shipped them much farther away from their origin, than did the small independent foundries. Also……the larger foundries were traditionally located in larger metropolitan areas with a larger population to tap into for sales.
There was a third element that made some styles more plentiful than others……that was the number of smaller independent foundries that saw how popular a particular style was with the larger companies and then produced their own version of that style bed. I’ve actually had one particular style bed, over the past 40 years of being in this business, that has been produced by as many as six different foundries or companies. You can tell that by the difference in the castings and or the side rail “hitches”. The style is exactly the same, just those elements vary from foundry to foundry.
Obviously the more popular a particular style was……..the more that were made and the more that have survived over the years.
Another element involved in the number of a particular style would have been the ease with which it was produced. One thing you can pretty much count on……if a bed is intricate, fancy and appears to be a nightmare to manufacture. You can pretty much count on there not being many of them around. The term “one of a kind” was not an idle phrase back then. Occasionally a foundry would be commissioned to make a bed only to find out how problematic it was and then they would never make another after the first prototype.
A rule of thumb…….fancier, means more collectible and more valuable. Antique iron beds go up in value every year……the law of supply and demand is the driving force. With there only being a finite amount of them produced, and their popularity continuing to grown. There’s nowhere for prices to go but up.
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.
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