History of Victorian beds
Metal beds first started to appear in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century. The industrial revolution brought radical new technology and manufacturing techniques which changed many aspects of people’s everyday lives, and the bed was no exception.
From the early 1800s metal became an increasingly popular choice of material for Victorian bedsteads. During this era hygiene was an important concern. Cast iron bedframes provided both a sterile and durable base, in place of traditional wooden frames.
As with our vintage bedsteads, from the start of their production in the 1850s until World War I, cast iron beds were handmade. The manufacturing process for Victorian bedframes in the 19th century used the same hand pouring and intricate polishing methods that the Cornish Bed Company employ today.
Victorian bedframes were designed to be opulent and exquisite, decorated with floral designs, curves and scrolls. The iron and brass bedsteads were influenced by the Art Nouveau movement celebrating nature in their aesthetic. Flowing lines and curves were created within the Victorian bedstead headboards and footers.
The vintage headboard in our Florence bed (above) is inspired by a classic design of the time: the three hoop bed; a great example of Art Nouveau design. The trend for a natural feel also influenced the colours of Victorian beds. Victorians favoured white and ivory beds, for their organic cast iron bedframes, and added brass details for an extra touch of opulence.
The simplest of our vintage bedframes is the Maud (below), a traditional Victorian dormitory bed design that would have been widely used in the 19th century. The simple vintage bedstead design has translated well into interior trends throughout the decades, from a mid-century modern style to a traditional country house setting. The Maud looks great as an ivory, black or white bed but can also make an impact in the range of bold bright colours that we offer.
The cast iron and brass bedstead continued to be a popular choice for the Edwardians, employing the same manufacturing methods as the Victorians. However, the designs had developed to suit the emerging Art Deco movement.
Art Deco, inspired by cubist artists such as Picasso, influenced the geometric shapes within the Edwardian cast iron bedsteads. Our Stratford vintage bedframe (below) is inspired by the angular Art Deco trend. Bolder colours were also favoured, making a chrome and black bed a popular choice.
The durability of these metal beds is clear to see, with many original Victorian beds still to be found in homes and antique shops to this day. By continuing to keep these traditional techniques alive, we like to think our beds will become the antiques of the future.