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The Feminine Attraction To Iron Beds


When you think about iron beds, what’s the first thing that will come to mind? Well if your a women, it’s probably something like “elegant” , “attractive”, “intimate”, …………if you’re a man, it’s probably “girlie”, “feminine”. It’s a preconceived opinion the majority of people have of those beautiful old antique iron beds that graced the bedrooms of Victorian homes and estates alike, throughout the 1800’s.

The point that certainly helps determine a persons initial view of one of these old metal beds, is it’s “finish” or “color”……. even more so than the shape and the style. I’ve had beds that were incredibly elaborate and scrolled, yet had old black iron finishes on them and they appealed to men without a question. Yet when the same beds had been painted in a white or some soft pastel with a crackle finish, most men would then considered them to be too feminine.

Conversely, I’ve had beds that were very straight and geometric with a very heavy tube masculine look, that we painted in white or pastels……..and then took on a very feminine look.

When a man thinks about the use of antique iron beds as being too feminine, they’re not realizing that the bulk of our population, back in the 1800′s, were sleeping in them. Families were raised in them.

The “visual” has often been our original way of judging anything. It’s not till you get to know the inner workings of how something is manufactured, can it really be valued and understood. So is the case with iron beds. You would think a big brawnie coal miner from Pennsylvania would never ever sleep in a thin gauge plain bed with small corner brass finials. But that, quite often was the case. Why?……. Because back in the 1800′s there were two things that came into play that would have seen such a pairing rather common. The first was that iron beds, rather often were not seen as a decorative piece of furniture as they are these days. Back then they were seen simply as a utilitarian piece of furniture to elevate and hold the mattress. The second thing that came into play was the manner in which the decor of a home, and particularly that of the bedroom was certainly not a concern of the man. That was always left up to the wife or woman of the family. In the 1800′s such things as interior design were deemed something a woman knew more about and were chauvinistically deemed  to be the women’s “work” in a household. So it wasn’t uncommon for the decorative nature of what would be considered quite feminine to pervade a home with men. It wouldn’t be until the 1900′s that men would start becoming involved in such things, otherwise the domain of their wives. The expression “getting in touch with his feminine side” was not something heard back in the 1800′s. Such a school of thought and belief would not readilty be recognized until the 1900′s.


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