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Iron Beds of the Craftsman Era

As is the situation with many iron beds that came out of the 1800′s, their variations did not always seem appropriate for that period of time. Even though they were being created in the Victorian Era 1837 to 1901, many of the styles coming out of that period could easily be categorized as styles from the Georgian, which ran from 1714 to 1830…….Art Nouveau 1890 to 1910 …………..Craftsman 1910 to 1925……….. and Art Deco 1920′s thru 1930′s.

There was quite a lot of overlapping in styles and designs from period to period.

But one of the greatest grouping of iron beds that were of a particular style which were being made it seemed way before their time, were the ones that had clear Craftsman styling to them. As mentioned, the Craftsman Period in design history was circa 1910 to about 1925. Yet there were an abundance of iron beds being created in the Victorian Period of 1837 to 1901 that didn’t look Victorian, and instead looked Craftsman…….with clean lines and no ornamented curves or scrolling synonymous with the Victorian or Art Nouveau Periods.

So how is it these Craftsman style iron beds were being created long before their period? I have to believe there were a lot of designers that were experimenting with new designs that the community had not noticed before, in an attempt to quite possibly establish a market for something other than what was at present being developed. The Victorian and Art Nouveau Periods were known for their beautiful scrolling, flowing feminine designs and ornately detailed castings. Quite the opposite of what Craftsman styling would become renowned and known for.

Accurate Craftsman iron beds, manufactured in the Craftsman (Arts and Crafts) period were typically made of wood. Beautiful organic grain wood. But what few iron beds that were made then, were made with square tubing. But there were a handful of of them made and even less seemed to have survived. The square tubing was thinner and inclined to cracking and splitting if it was ever exposed to the elements. Of all the antique iron beds, the round thick wall tubing of the Victorian Era was much more sturdy and strong.

Best known today for his beautifully designed Craftsman furniture was Gustav Stickley. In recent decades, Stickley and his work have become popularly acknowledged once again. It is particularly his early furniture, created between 1901 and 1904 that is considered rare and ultra collectible. In 1988, Barbra Streisand paid $363,000 for a Stickley sideboard from Craftsman Farms.

Although similar to any preferred antique who’s days are long gone, reproductions of the Craftsman Period are plentiful. Some certainly better than others. But not one as collectible as those of the real Craftsman Period.

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