Competition is one of the things that helped this country develop over the years into the economic heavyweight we have become. Early in our economic climb to the top of the ladder, competition could have been as simple as competing town blacksmiths etc. When it came to iron beds vs. brass beds, the competition was fierce.
Iron beds were not the bed of choice with the upper class. Solid carved wood beds of cherry , mahogany , and walnut were the Mercedes of their time. Brass beds gave the wood saturated decor of a home a much needed change. Although they still had a heavy potential to them ,they at least were open and airy throughout the interior design. Wooden beds were heavy looking and visually dominated whatever space they occupied.
Iron beds offered an alternative to both the heavy dark wooden frames and also the one color brass beds, which unless scrolled and fancy, could be equally as oppressive as their wooden counterpart. The beauty of iron beds lay in their ability to be painted any number of colors and combination’s, to lighten even the darkest of settings.
So why is it iron bed manufacturers felt brass trim……in the form of corner brass balls, or center brass spokes, or even elaborately scrolled brass was necessary. Well the biggest reason was to try and tap into the brass bed market, and those individuals that liked brass but were on the fence about getting an all brass bed. The other issue on iron bed popularity eventually overtaking that of the brass beds……was cost. Brass beds could actually cost two to three times as much as an iron bed. Sometimes even more. Iron beds were cheaper to make because the tubing was used as the steel it started out as. What most people aren’t aware of is that nearly 75% of all the brass beds that were made , were actually iron beds wrapped in a thick sheet of brass. Brass alone was not a strong enough metal to build with. So the outside tubes needed to be reinforced with steel tubing that was the wrapped with brass in such a way as nearly undetectable. Take a look at the next old brass bed you see……you’ll notice a seem on much of the tubing. This is the seem where the sheets of brass are wrapped and joined together. If you doubt the construction…….put a magnet to it. The magnet will attract to the steel tubing underneath the wrapped brass.
So iron bed foundries did everything they could to attract the brass bed market, by integrating brass, sometimes in elaborate interlaced patterns with the iron tubing. The combination of the two metals complimented each other and eventually overtook all forms of bed frames. To this day……iron beds are a much larger percentage of the bed frame market than brass or wooden.
Long live iron beds………..