Traditional but still Contemporary - Iron Railings
Existence of Iron railings could be traced back at the time when industrial revolution was taking place at the end of the 16th century and beginning of 17th century. During these times, the knowledge of mining of metals was in its primitive stage, unlike today when it is considered as a science. It used to be an expensive affair, since it was the work of artisans. Only the affluent and rich people could buy the wrought iron and its railings made from iron. The welding techniques were unheard of and joining of metals was done either by heating and or by fastening or hammering together.
The railings were made from cast iron, steel or wrought iron. There was no existence of stainless steel railings in the 17th century.
Wrought Iron railings not at all have been affected by fashion. Fashions have come and gone, but the iron railings have in no way lost its popularity and will never loose its popularity in the times to come. Probably the existence of the iron railings can be considered to be more than the life of fashion.
The railings were made mostly from iron, though the affluent and the kings sometimes got railings made from metals like gold for inner railings of their mansions.
Metals for Iron Railings
Railings of Wrought Iron: It was a very tedious process to make wrought iron railings as iron is first heated to burning red and then hammer is used to give the railings the desired dimension and shape. This work was quite laborious and only a few talented craftsmen who were expert, could work on these railings of wrought iron. As there were a very few craftsmen, supply of wrought iron railings was inadequate, and as a result these were very expensive.
Railings made from Cast iron: The process of railings made from cast iron was to first liquefy the iron and then put the liquid iron into different moulds make desired shapes. Sand was made to make the molds and these molds were used for making cast on railings. These kinds of railings were quite delicate and easily broke. It was practically unfeasible to mend the cracked railing at that time. Since these were delicate, these were required to be dealt with utmost care and there were not many buyers for this kind except for the affluent people.
Railings of Mild steel: The existence of mild steel made can be traced to sometime in 18th century, after that it became instantaneously known metal to be used for railing and framework. The pieces did not need to be heated any more, instead these had to be first handled without heating and then had to be fastened with a rivet. It was a big advantage over heating process and mild steel found many uses for almost all the things including its utilization in railings.
Progress in Iron Railings
Advancement in technology in welding brought changes in the ways the iron was used in railings. Iron rods now could be bent in different shapes that were until then inconceivable. Not only it had become feasible now to join iron rods thru welding, it also reduced the price and weight without any reduction in its intensity. Apparently repair of iron rods also became much easier.
Now it is viable to make railings from plates and twist them into different shapes as per the requirement. The basic material is same but now the shape can be changed to have a new look with not much maintenance. Large quantities are achieveable with stainless steel and the stainless steel has a more elegant look and is maintenance free (other than regular cleaning).
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Article Added on Friday, December 29, 2006
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