Dating cast iron beds
January 28, Beds. To determine the age of antique bed frames , firstly, look at the metal involved in making the bed. The Victorians used primarily handmade cast iron for their home products until the beginning of the First World War. After this, mass-produced beds made of aluminum were common.
iron and/or brass bed
This turn of the 20th century bed hardware consists of a stamped steel hook imbedded in the side rail and held in place by two steel dowels. The hooks enter a slot in the post and engage two more steel dowels implanted in the post. In high school, while living at home, I had led a fairly sedate existence, keeping regular hours and getting lots of sleep. Between school, work and a steady girlfriend my life was, well, ordinary.
But when the time for college rolled around it was party time. Any time. All the time. Then the rack monster showed up and demanded at least a down payment on the accumulated sleep deficit. At that time in my life a good bed was a rare commodity, having inhabited dorm rooms, fraternity houses and low-rent apartments for a long time so I became aware of the qualities that make up a good bed. Then the love of my life and I bought our first house and we moved into it without owning a stick of furniture.
The first acquisition was a set of name brand bedding from the big department store — box spring and mattress happily placed in the right place — on the floor in the bedroom. And there it stayed for a couple of years until we decided to civilize a little bit and buy some real bedroom furniture. At least that was our intention but, as it turned out, real furniture from the big store was expensive so we went junking.
Then came my introduction to bed technology. To that point I never thought about a bed having any technology so I had to learn fast. The problem was that the modern set of bedding we had bought two years earlier did not fit in the old bedstead. It was too long — or the bed was too short. In any event I could not afford to replace either the furniture or the bedding so I had to figure out how to make it all work. I knew a little about woodworking since my father had once been a shop teacher so I decided to make new side rails that would make the bedding fit the bed.
But first I had to understand the technology of the bed. There were these two finger-like protrusions on the ends of the rails that seemed to attach to something in the posts on the headboard. I ended up destroying the original side rails to figure out the program but I did figure it out and we used that modified bed another dozen years.
It brought to my attention the benefits of a stable wooden frame for the bed that could, in the case of a major event such as painting the bedroom, be disassembled in short order, moved out of the way and reassembled to the original configuration. That concept of portability in such a major fixture as a bed frame was a brilliant idea. I wondered where that idea had come from. Turns out it was a fairly recent idea, relatively speaking, and was technology driven.
Through most of human history a place to sleep was just a relatively flat spot in some secure location. It may have been lined with leaves, moss or skins, but it was nothing permanent. The main problem with that concept was that other creatures besides people found the warm soft environment inviting and our ancestors often shared the nest with uninvited guests. The Egyptians partially solved the problem by constructing platforms above floor level on which to place skins and fabric.
At one point they even developed a suspension system for a bed using lacing of hide or rope. In the Middle Ages in Europe the nobility could build a sturdy platform in the corner of a room, surround it by curtains, pad it with fabric and have a nice bed. But the peasantry had a different approach. They made mattresses stuffed with moss, hair and feathers that could be placed on the floor in a corner or near a fire.
The sack mattress could easily be emptied of its contents and packed away when the next war of famine rolled in and the peasants had to hit the road. Eventually a shallow wooden frame was developed that would help the mattress keep some semblance of its original shape. But there was still the critter problem. By the 14th century the Chinese had free-standing beds that were not part of the woodwork and Europe was slowly catching up.
But even by Elizabethan times the suspension idea had not yet taken root and beds were enormously expensive and oversize until a general downsizing trend started in the late 17th century. It took the colonization of America to stimulate the next major step in bed technology. Of course early Colonial beds were not much different from contemporary European beds, but change was coming in the form of the adaptation of iron to the support of beds.
Since Colonial America was an ever-expanding concept, moving relentlessly to settle the next valley, the concept of portability was a key ingredient in the construction of beds. By the 18th century the idea of a relatively lightweight wooden frame assembled above the floor was the norm for most households in town.
The frame was held together by only four bolts, one in each corner. In the 18th century and into the early 19th century the bolts were inserted through the post from the outside. The rails joined the posts in a loose mortise and tenon joint to prevent rotation of the rails. The joint was secured when the bolt through the post engaged a matching nut that was implanted into the side rail a few inches down from the joint. Eighteenth century beds were held together by a handmade bolt through the post from the outside and engaged a nut implanted in the rail.
The end of the bolt was exposed to the outside so a decorative bolt cover was often seen on period beds. The bolts used in this construction were made the same way nails and other threaded fasteners of the period were made — one at a time one by hand, and each bolt and its matching nut were unique. If a bolt was lost during transportation a new matching nut and bolt had to be installed. The square-headed bolt was then tightened with a bed wrench and the frame was secure.
It could further be tightened as the frame expanded or contracted. Early examples just left the heads of the bolts exposed but later the pilot holes for the bolts were expanded so that the head of the bolt was actually tightened below the level of the wood. It could then be dressed up by a decorative brass bolt cover. This was the standard technique for bed construction through the Federal period.
The procedure was reversed in Empire and Rococo Revival-style beds. In these beds the bolt was installed in a channel in the side rails and it engaged a nut buried in the post so that no hardware was visible from the outside. But Empire and Late Classicism styling required a slight change of application, but not of technology. The arrangement of the joint was simply reversed. The matching nut was implanted in the post and the bolt was placed in a cut out trough in the side rail.
That way nothing of the hardware was visible from the outside. This method was used well into the Rococo Revival past mid-century. But technology marched on. The Victorian period of the mid to late 19th century offered an entirely new take on bed hardware. It consisted of iron fitting that engaged offset teeth in notches in a receiving plate.
Variations of the horseshoe and fitting were the standard through the rest of the 19th century — until technology struck again. The closed end horseshoe was imbedded in a circular race in the side rail, covered by a block of wood. The exposed square teeth engaged a fitting in the post. The stamped steel took the form of the two-fingered hook that I had encountered in my first bed.
That was modern bed joinery and is still the standard today after over years of service. Does that make it an antique? Send comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor at P. Box , Crystal River, FL or email them to him at info furnituredetective. Box , Crystal River, FL For more information call 9 a. Eastern, M-F only , fax , or info furnituredetective.
All items are also available directly from his website. Related posts No related posts.
Decorating a bedroom with a black iron bed made add a historical touch to any decorating style. Skilled How to Date Antique Iron Beds - wonderful piece!. Antique French Circa 's Brass Bed Frame #antiquebedroomsets Large 2" diameter tubing circa Vintage Bed Frame, Antique Iron Beds, Brass.
Additional Views. The marble tops are not attached and can be changed if the color does not work for you. These petite side tables are sturdy, ready for everyday use. The one has missing bronze mounts at the feet.
This turn of the 20th century bed hardware consists of a stamped steel hook imbedded in the side rail and held in place by two steel dowels.
According to the Wrought Iron Furniture blog, determining an iron bed's age involves inspecting the various vintage designs and looking for the manufacturer's stamp or trademark and date. The site further advises to examine bed styles in antique reference books. When calculating the date of a vintage iron bed, examine how the bed was constructed.
How to Safely Strip an Antique Metal Headboard
Enter keyword s to search for the articles,events,business listing and community content. You can use letters: Please avoid special characters excepts: She had a limited budget so during her engagement in the early s she went out into the Quebec countryside looking for old furniture that nobody wanted and persuaded the owners to sell items to her, including this bed. It is 93 cm wide, cm long and 93 cm high I would be interested to know more about where it came from and how old it is.
Description Attractive antique Victorian cast iron bed. A lovely antique Victorian bed. We date this bed to the late 19th century. The bed comes in three sections: The head and foot boards sit on circular section legs above their original castors. The base slots in to the head and foot boards. There would have originally have been a sprung metal mesh within the frame but this has been removed at some point in the past. The head board has a height of 40" cm and the foot board a height of 37" 94cm , both by 36" 92cm wide.
The antique metal headboard is destined for guest room glory, but it looks like a junker at the moment. The layers of its history are a dirty mix of various paints, lacquers, tarnish and rust -- as unattractive as they are mysterious.
Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question. I purchased a very old brass bed, queen size, that is at least years old, judging by the support frames. It has very high posts on the headboard, and lower ones on the footboard.
Elaborate cast iron bed dates to 1860s
Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon less than 0. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant and easily welded. Before the development of effective methods of steelmaking and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron. It was given the name wrought because it was hammered, rolled or otherwise worked while hot enough to expel molten slag. Neither wrought iron nor mild steel contain enough carbon to be hardenable by heating and quenching. It is a highly refined iron with a small amount of slag forged out into fibres. The chemical analysis of the metal shows as much as 99 percent of iron. The slag characteristic of wrought iron is useful in blacksmithing operations and gives the material its peculiar fibrous structure. The non-corrosive slag constituent causes wrought iron to be resistant to progressive corrosion. Moreover, the presence of slag produces a structure which diminishes the effect of fatigue caused by shocks and vibrations. Historically, a modest amount of wrought iron was refined into steel , which was used mainly to produce swords , cutlery , chisels , axes and other edged tools as well as springs and files.
Attractive Antique Victorian Single 36" Cast Iron & Brass Bed Frame
One of the true delights in using the iron bed is the ability to change the color to match the decor of your room. Let's face it An iron bed will always blend well with any decor Even the iron baby beds They make lovely loveseats, daybeds, etc.
Furniture Detective: Hardware on vintage beds crucial to its design and function
To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. At first glance, it seems to have junk piled atop junk. The shop specializes in selling and refinishing brass and iron antiques, especially beds. Pieces are sold in the rough or completely refinished. If the main floor seems a jumble, wait until you invade the basement. There, about brass, iron and combination brass and iron beds are stacked willy-nilly, all waiting to be redone to order.
Antiques; A JUMBLE OF BRASS AND BEDS
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only. A brass single bed , and an antique cast iron single bed, the brass bed cm high, cm wide, cm long. The other cm high,. A fine Louis XVI style mahogany and brass inlaid double bed, late 19th century, with rails and slats, with an arching crest and fluted side pillars with cast fruit finials, finely, inlaid with trophies, scrolling acanthus and formal urn style decorations,. Victorian cast iron powder coated bed, with rails. Victorian double brass bed cm, x cm, inside dimension , cm, x cm, cm, high outside dimension. Antique ornate painted cast iron dolls' bed, with brass accent on castors, 80 cm height, 68 cm length, 44 cm width. A French mahogany and brass inlaid bed, circa s.
Determine The Age Of An Antique Bed Frames
A good nights sleep is priceless, there is nothing better than sinking into a sumptuous mattress at the end of a hard day. A bedroom should be a space of tranquillity and calm, a haven away from the stresses of life; an antique bed is a beautiful item of furniture and is sure to make the lure of sleep even more appealing. In ancient times, BC, beds consisted of little more than a pile of straw and mud and other natural materials such as animal skins and leaves. It is thought that around 27BC mattresses of hay and feathers were being used commonly for beds. The Egyptians were the first culture that are thought to have raised their beds above ground level, with the elite of Egyptian society having beds made from wood, they may have also featured gilding and during this period many of the beds had headsteads.
Beds are of great interest to most people. We spend more time in bed than we do anywhere else, except maybe at work, so where we spend roughly one-third of our lives should be of great interest. In medieval times, beds for most people were little more than nests of blankets on the floor or on a small platform of earth or stones. The problem? There were other critters at that same level of inhabitation:Ultimate Guide to Vintage Cast Iron