When you think about iron beds, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Well if your a women, it’s almost certainly something like “sophisticated” , “attractive”, “romantic”, …………if you’re a man, it’s probably “girlie”, “feminine”. It’s a preconceived belief the majority of people have of those gorgeous old antique iron beds that graced the bedrooms of Victorian homes and estates alike, throughout the 1800’s.
The thing that certainly helps ascertain a persons initial opinion of one of these old metal beds, is it’s “finish” or “color”……. even more so than the shape and the design. I’ve had beds that were incredibly ornate 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 “finished” in a white or some delicate pastel with a crackle finish, most men would then considered them to be too feminine.
Conversely, I’ve had beds that were incredibly straight and geometric with a very large tube masculine look, that we refinished 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 initial way of judging anything. It’s not till you get to know the inner workings of how something is created, can it really be appreciated and understood. So is the case with iron beds. You would think a big brawnie coal miner from Pennsylvania would by no means sleep in a thin gauge ordinary 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 made such a pairing very common. The first was that iron beds, rather often were not seen as a ornamental piece of furniture as they are these days. Back at that period they were seen simply as a utilitarian item to elevate and support the mattress. The second thing that came into play was the manner in which the design of a home, and particularly that of the bedroom was never ever a concern of the man. That was strictly delegated 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 considered to be the women’s “work” in a household. So it wasn’t uncommon for the romantic 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, quite often the domain of their wives. The phrase “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 accepted until the 1900′s.