With the development of the technological world, new materials emerge so often that what we appreciate today, may become old-fashioned tomorrow. Fibereglass, UPVC, aluminum, various combinations of new and older materials – there is a huge and constantly growing selection in the market today. Then there is wrought iron – an ancient material that has survived through many centuries.
The history of wrought iron dates back to 1200 B.C. It is the time when our ancestors began to use iron instead of bronze to make weapons and tools. The Iron Age followed the Bronze Age. The word “wrought” is as old as the material itself: it is an old form of the verb to work, meaning “worked”, so, in fact, “wrought iron” means “worked iron”, implying that it was worked on, handmade.
The blacksmiths - the masters who made all sorts of things out of iron, were then thought to be magicians. They could create useful tools using fire and water. However, the use of this material was limited only to weapons and tools, as wrought iron of that time was quite brittle and was similar to cast iron as we know it today.
The difference between wrought iron and cast iron is in the carbon content. Wrought iron has less carbon- up to 0.8%, while cast iron may contain from 2.1% to 4% carbon. The higher carbon content makes iron more brittle, thus, it is not malleable.
Nonetheless, as the time passed, blacksmiths learned to reduce the carbon content in the iron alloy so that it could be more flexible and malleable. As a result, wrought iron was getting more and more popular and was then used in various decor applications like window and door inserts and decorative furniture.
By the middle ages, the process of making wrought iron had developed to the point that it was used in decorating cathedrals, churches and royal buildings. It had been widely used in Gothic architecture. One of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture of that time with wrought iron application is the well-known Notre Dame de Paris.
Up to 19th century wrought iron was even used to make rails. However, in the 19th century steel began to gradually replace wrought iron, as new methods of refining steel were developed.
Today, the term “wrought iron” applies to everything made from malleable iron or steel.
As wrought iron is reusable, many old pieces of furniture or decorations made of it are being re-processed to make new goods. However, today mostly mild steel is used for wider applications. The difference between wrought iron and mild steel is in their composition. Mild steel has lower carbon content, therefore, it is even more malleable and ductile. Nevertheless, the end product is the same.
The beauty of wrought iron is that it has quite a wide range of application that can be from very simple to very sophisticated. Modern wrought iron products, such as wrought iron door inserts or wrought iron gates, are made using the latest laser cutting technology. This technology was first used in late 1960s, but became more popular and widespread much later. There are various methods of laser cutting, but the one used to cut metals is the “melt and blow” method. It essentially heats the material to the melting point, then uses high-pressure gas to blow the molten parts out. Usually, commercial lasers use motion control systems to direct the material being cut.
Laser cutting technology allows the material to be cut in all possible shapes and sizes. You can have wrought iron door inserts in any design that you would like: simple and bald to complement your ultra-modern minimalistic decor, or sophisticated enough to manifest your royal spirit.
No matter what style you have chosen to decorate your house – contemporary, eclectic or retro - wrought iron will definitely find its place in your home decor. In order to create harmony in your home design, you should not forget about your doors and windows as well. Here is when wrought iron comes into play. Doors with wrought iron inserts can be a piece of art on their own and can completely transform the aesthetic appeal of your house.