Wrought Iron Lighting
There is a dramatic variance to the materials used in building and design. Some are lightweight and easy on the eyes. Others are big, heavy, and look like they're associated with bygone eras. One such material is wrought iron. Simply judging by the name it sounds rather ominous, like something from the middle ages used protect the castle gate. Wrought is actually a term for pure commercial iron. Or, in the ages before modern commerce, pure iron applied to some sort of use. Today, wrought iron has been largely supplanted by more advanced building materials which are lighter and less expensive. However, its still commonly used as ornamental metal, a role it has served for several millennia. When reading history books, the iron that's mention in chapters mentioning the "iron age" is actually wrought iron. In fact, wrought iron was the only form of iron known to westerners until muslim conquests allowed for a transfer of technologies from the far east to Europe. Wrought iron is a coarse porous material. The various processes by which the material is refined gives it this texture, as it lacks foreign elements to smooth the iron. For example, the addition of carbon turns iron into steel. Wrought iron has been smelted since the heyday of ancient Mediterranean empires. It became a staple of design with the Romans, who used the easily manipulated material to make furniture, lamps and gates. The collapse of Western Europe's economy after the fall of Rome forced Europeans to turn more simplistic materials to fill their aesthetic needs. Wrought iron returned to its place at the gates of castles and the armor medieval soldiers. After centuries of harsh feudalism, Europe rebounded, largely thanks to its conquests and territorial acquisitions abroad. This gave birth to the famous golden ages of aristocracy that were common throughout Europe. The lifestyles that were adopted by the gentry classes during this time would later be used as the reference point for which modern upper classes gauge their material wealth. During this time of economic growth, European aristocrats sought to recreate the lavish lifestyles of their Roman forbearers. The use of metals, which could otherwise serve some more constructive purpose, as ornamental fixtures was luxury that seemed quite necessary. And thus, wrought iron returned as lamp posts and outdoor furniture. Today, even after considerable industrialization, wrought iron isnÎêt exactly common. Much easier to produce than steel, it still serves the same ornamental functions it has since the heyday of Rome. However, demand for it throughout the world has diminished over the past few decades. In fact, its difficult to find a foundry in Europe that still produces wrought iron. In America, wrought iron is often associated with frontier life. Its commonly found in buildings and locales that were once isolated from the luxuries of the civilized world. On the frontier, wrought iron fixtures were fashioned rather traditionally by a blacksmith. Western expansion brought with regular access to outside supplies. The advent of the automobile at the beginning of the twentieth century put blacksmiths to work as mechanics, and wrought iron once again disappeared from contemporary use. Today, wrought iron serves a ornamental purpose in many homes. Serving as chandeliers, lamps and even kitchen pot racks.