Today we call Fed Exp., United Parcel or any one of a dozen freight carriers and they’ll come to your home pick up whatever you want to ship and have it at it’s desired destination the following day…………not so back in the 1800’s when iron beds were being built.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the hundreds of small independently owned foundries that were making 90% of all the beds being produced, tried to locate themselves as close to the source of raw materials as possible. Why? Because procuring those raw materials……iron ore and thick wall steel tubing wasn’t easy. Paying to have them shipped to you cut into the bottom line. Being able to take a horse drawn wagon, load up with what you needed, and drive back home the same day was the smartest thing a small working foundry could do.
Ok………So now you have your bed produced. How do you get this bed to market or to the stores that may have wanted to buy it. Here again, foundries and manufacturers were continually faced with a transportation dilemma.Metal beds weren’t the lightest thing in the world. So transportation had to be with something that was capable of hauling a good amount of weight.
There were three major means of transportation back in the 1800’s:
The horse drawn wagon…….The water barge………The steam locomotive train. Where your foundry was located would determine which one of these methods you’d use to get your bed to market.
The Mississippi River was one of the main means of transportation from the North to the South. Once a shipment of beds was sent down river to the closet landing to the town, then it was usually the horse drawn wagon that took it the remainder of the way to whatever city it was going to. After the railroads became more prominent in the mid to later 1800’s, they became the preferred means of transportation.
Beds today get shipped out the same day they’re made and arrive at their new owners home the following day. It’s a faster more hectic world we live in now. We all want some degree of immediate gratification. If manufacturers can’t iron out their shipping problems, they are destined to fail.
I ordered a Mac lap top for my daughter, on-line last year. I placed the order around 2:30 in the afternoon. I had them load a couple of extra programs she needed for school. The computer arrived the following day before 3:00PM. The crazy thing is that it came from a warehouse in Atlanta Georgia…….had the extra programs loaded, and was shipped so I received it the following day in California.
Freight has come a long way since iron beds were being made in the 1800’s.