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Monday, April 8, 2013

Wrought Iron Gates Throughout The Ages

Although the more common use of iron has been around since the ancient Iron Age, the widespread use of ornamental wrought iron gates did not make an appearance until the Middle Ages. Nowhere is this more evident than throughout most of the major cities of Europe and many North and Latin American cities. Typically, they can be most seen in cemeteries, Baroque palaces, Gothic cathedrals, private cottages and churchyards.

Visits to the cities of New Orleans, Louisiana and Miami, Florida will attest to the cultural influence of a European lifestyle. Elegantly fashioned wrought iron gates are commonly found in many places in gateways, windows, door entrance ways and balcony railings. Some residents have them installed as a matter of security and privacy; however, other people may consider it a matter of elegance. In either case, ornamental wrought iron gates give an air of prestige to those who have them on their property.

Common Use



Traditionally, giant wrought iron gates with adjoining smaller gates have been used to help ensure security to residences, properties and even city gates. Until fairly recently, in northern Florida’s world famous Old World city of St. Augustine, imposing ornamental wrought iron gates have guarded city streets since the earliest Spanish conquest.



Today, iron gates can still be seen throughout the old colonial city and other modern cities as well. Wrought iron fences, stair railings, pool enclosures, outdoor furniture and decorative garden/patio adornments commonly form part of the landscape. Their highly elegant and finely detailed lines enhance even the most plain looking homes and gardens for following generations to enjoy.



Maintenance



Although wrought iron is longer lasting than other synthetic materials, it does require some maintenance such as a coat of paint once rust begins to set in. However, it has an ability to endure through any climate for years to come as can be seen in many wrought iron structures from the Middle Ages.



Styles



Whether in rustic, ancient, Gothic or Baroque designs, wrought iron gates are available in a wide selection of styles and colors. Primarily sold in black, bronze and white colors with various accents such as a “distressed look” for ancient styles, customers virtually know no limit where tastes and designs are concerned.


Composition



Tough, easily malleable and welded, wrought iron is an iron alloy with a low content of carbon. Until the development of steel, wrought iron was the world’s most commonly used form of malleable material. Their use during the early Industrial Age was mostly seen in the construction of battleships, trains and steam ships. However, reaching the climax of industrial utilization in the early 1860s, the introduction of mild steel soon replaced wrought iron as the prime industrial material.

When thinking of wrought iron gates, a person may envision seclusion, privacy, security and a sense of quintessential Gothic foreboding. However, another person may visualize elegance, finery and charm. To someone else, wrought iron gates signify both a practical and ethereal mindset and are gladly incorporated into their lifestyle, whatever it may be.

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