AND IRON ANTIQUE BEDS - 1825 to 1900
First made during the 1820s, but not generally popular until about 1850. Considered a hygienic alternative to wood, used by all classes. Price was largely dictated by the amount of brass in the construction, the cheapest being
all iron or iron with brass knobs and end-rails, the most expensive all brass. The best (and largest number of) manufacturers.
were in Birmingham, most notably Peyton & Harlow and
R. W. Winfield.
Some four-post brass beds were made, but most were half-tester or had curtains hung from side wings. Straightforward double-ended beds without drapery were increasingly common after 1875.
Designs were variable, generally not following contemporary fashions. Most had al strong vertical and horizontal emphasis; some had fancy scrollwork. Cast decorative cornices were a rare bonus.
CAST AND IRON
Cast- and wrought-iron and taper brass tubing; after about
1860, brass-plated steel. Knobs and other ornament sometimes solid
Parts were slotted together, held in place by tension or by bolts, their ends concealed by
screw-on decorative knobs or the like. Ornament sometimes welded on. Mattress-frames Were initially interwoven flat metal straps bolted to angled side
rails; but by 1900 various wire mesh and spring arrangements were being hooked to the rails
through small holes. Entire frame usually dovetailed onto uprights. Legs invariably fitted with castors.
Brass was polished; iron was painted or lacquered.
Perennially popular and increasingly scarce, though only immensely valuable if all-brass and of complex design.
TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRASS Modern brass beds are usually lacquered and therefore need no polishing. But they lack the deep glow and
slightly worn look of the real thing.