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Wednesday, 29-Feb-2012 06:25 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Centuries of Dreams Dreamed Upon a Wrought Iron Bed

 
 
Ask any young girl, from any era, this one, or from one long ago, what sort of bed a Fairy-Tale Princess sleeps in, and she will likely sigh, and wistfully reply, "A fancy, beautiful, wrought iron bed!".

It's easy to conjure up that romantic image; an ornate iron bed, hand-crafted by a skilled artisan. A wrought iron bed to beat all other wrought iron beds--replete with luxurious linen sheets, a coverlet made of fine brocade, or perhaps a silk damask--an array of plump pillows layered against a finely detailed headboard. Cast your eyes upward to waterfalls of gauzy fabric cascading from the canopy frame atop this magical iron bed. Whether you're a Wrought Iron Decor, or a bit more mature; to sleep in such a bed is almost a universal fantasy.

Wrought iron has been in use more than five millennium. For both construction and decorative purposes. During the Middle Ages, the use of wrought iron surpassed the previous front-runner, bronze, for the crafting of swords, axes, plows, various weapons and tools, iron beds and other furnishings. With the introduction of the blast furnace in the 15th century, wrought iron became much more plentiful, and iron-craft soared, creating a period in the late 1600s, known as the Great English Ironwork.

With the mid-19th century invention of the Bessemer process, (named for its inventor, Harry Bessemer) steel became an affordable material to be able to mass-produce on an industrial scale. This process was known long before, but only the Bessemer process allowed for such large-scale production. The main principle behind the Bessemer process removes impurities from the iron by a dual action of oxidation and air injection; oxidation also brings up the iron's temperature allowing it to maintain a molten state.

It's understandable how wrought iron fell into decline as a construction material.

Today, steel is one of the most common materials worldwide, with just over a billion tons produced each year, but prior to the advent of steel, and its subsequent explosion throughout industry, wrought iron was the go-to metal, and very often was a structural component for buildings, bridges, ships, columns and colonnades. It played a starring role in early railway infrastructure. It defined and improved the look of cities, and bestowed elegance to personal gardens, railings, gates and grates.

Today, wrought iron is often more artistically expressed as ornamental and decorative pieces, but not always strictly as art. As was the case centuries ago, talented blacksmiths still marry form and function to create wonderful wrought iron furniture, from iron beds, light fixtures, tables, wine racks, candle holders, garden chairs, trellises, plant stands, and plant hangers, graceful wall Wrought Iron Furniture, fireplace tools, and much more.

Historically and culturally, one of the most enduring items imprinted upon our minds, would be those classical wrought iron beds. Whether they're embedded in our personal memories, or seen in films, or described in our favorite bedtime stories and beloved novels, the iron bed is definitely an iconic fixture. It is perfectly natural to expect that wrought iron beds will live on in our homes for centuries to come.


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