The History Of Ironwork

When it comes to ironwork the first thing that might come to many people’s minds are iron fences, iron gates, handrails, and other residential ironwork. And rightly so.

Our knowledge of ironworks is often influenced by what we are exposed to. But ironwork is far more than that. As a matter of fact, ironwork has long been put to commercial use as much as it has for residential purposes. Metal Fabrication Central Illinois

It all started way back in time, as far back as 2000 BC when the Hittites were known to make their weapons out of raw iron ore. Due to the rarity of metal and exclusivity of the blacksmithing craft, ironwork was limited to military use at that time.

With increasing knowledge, training and the availability of iron ore, ironwork would transition from solely military use to more utilitarian purposes. Ironwork would be used in architecture, artwork, and even common cooking utensils.

Back in the day, blacksmithing was a revered profession as people viewed their skill-set as otherworldly. As we moved into the Middle Ages, ironwork would be prominently used as decorative features in both publicly and privately owned structures.

Decorative ornate ironwork can be seen in ancient popular Cathedrals like the Notre Dame de Paris in Paris, France and the Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England.

The impressive ironwork craftsmanship in these Cathedrals and others like them served the dual purpose of prestige and functionality. The ironwork served to provide protection to various points of entry into the Cathedrals including the windows and doorways. Ironwork was used to secure these points of entry from the threat of invaders and robbers.

The ornate nature of ironwork would be enhanced from the early 16th century when blacksmiths would hone in their craft and design works of art that would endure for centuries.

Cathedrals built in Spain and those developed abroad by the Spanish conquistadors were renowned for their rejería. The rejería were large iron screens with a height of about nine meters which adorned the Cathedrals providing both a sense of style and security to the edifice.

Wrought iron was predominantly used in the Baroque as well as Rocco eras. Wrought ironwork was heavy, expensive and could only be molded into works of art by skilled blacksmiths of the time.

The French were particularly skilled in developing fashionable gateways, stair railings, and wrought iron balconies. This was a skill that was introduced in England by Jean Tijou and is prominent in many structures like St Paul’s Cathedral and Hampton Court.

Wrought ironwork would become a common theme in Europe and would eventually be introduced in North America by both the English and French colonists. Residential Fence

Over time the use of wrought iron has been substituted with ornate ironwork which incorporates steel in the smelting process. Ornate ironwork does not rely on raw iron ore alone like in the case of wrought iron.

Ornate ironwork is machine produced rather than developed solely by a blacksmith like wrought ironwork. This makes ornate ironwork a more commercially produced, less expensive, and lightweight form of ironwork.

At River City Ironwork we are a metal manufacturing company providing premium quality Residential Ironwork and Commercial Ironwork for all kinds of projects. We also provide industrial repair and Mobile Welding Services to help meet all your Custom Fabrication needs.

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