First used by the Chinese, cast iron pieces were made in 550 B.C. C. In the 18th century there were numerous small foundries as far east and even as far west as Chicago. They took pride and care in their designs. These small foundries could take days to make a single bed. Raw iron was melted and poured by hand and into molds. Finishes were varied and could range from plain white to beds with multiple color schemes with gold accents on the castings. Due to the meticulous methods used to produce iron bed frames, it is rare to find duplicate designs. There is simply no substitute for a hand-forged iron bed by a skilled foundry craftsman. These beds have stood the test of time.
Iron furniture was first introduced to American homes in the 1840s. Beds ranged from very simple and plain designs to elegant and ornate styles, especially towards the end of the 19th century. Until that time, iron was mainly used for garden and patio pieces, urns, benches, and also for architectural and structural pieces such as porch and step railings, corbels, cupolas, etc.
The style of iron beds produced during the Victorian, Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts periods greatly influenced the styles, especially Victorian and Art Nouveau. Iron was so suitable for elegant creations that it satisfied people’s taste for ornate beds during these periods.
The beauty of having an iron bed is the ease with which it can be incorporated into any style of room décor and with any color. These beds match any type of wood furniture, from cherry to pine, painted or dark walnut in the room, complementing virtually any style. They have never gone out of style, probably never will, but they are currently in high demand. A beautiful aged patina with weathered paint is extremely popular right now and antique iron beds definitely fit those bills.