Elements from cast iron and wrought iron were a prevalent part of the mid 19th-century architecture. This was due to their cost-effectiveness, durability, and the possibilities for a variety of designs. Also, they could be mass-produced (thanks to the Industrial Revolution) as cast iron, while iron elements could be prefabricated and delivered elsewhere.
Iron features nowadays are still popular and applicable as structural and decorative elements, in both commercial and residential projects. When architects and builders consider iron as a material, even today, they categorize it in two groups: wrought iron and cast iron.
The Difference Between Wrought Iron and Cast Iron
Believe it or not, iron is a soft natural element. However, when carbon is added, other compounds can be created. Steel is one of them. Depending on the proportion of carbon and iron mix and the heat intensities, the properties of iron change.
Wrought iron has a lower carbon percentage, and that makes it more malleable to work with when heated in a forge, as it has a high tensile strength, but it needs to be formed fast. This makes it very suitable for creating different shapes and ornaments.
Cast iron has a higher carbon content, and it liquifies at very high temperatures. As the name suggests, it then is “cast” or poured into molds. Once it is cooled and hardened, it’s ready to be taken out of the mold and shipped to the construction site.
Making Structural Elements and Decorative Pieces from Iron
Cast iron and wrought iron can be both used in the same buildings, but for different purposes. Cast iron is usually used for structural applications such as staircases, whereas wrought iron is mostly for decorative elements like fencing, or as part of custom lighting fixtures.
However, even wrought iron can be fabricated as a structural element, for example, a particular type of wrought iron named puddled iron was also used in the Eiffel Tower. The famous Crystal Palace by Sir Joseph Paxton was constructed in cast iron, wrought iron, and glass for the Great World Exhibition in 1851.
Cast iron can be pre-fabricated and delivered anywhere in the world to assemble buildings and facades, as it allows for spacious open floor plans, it’s durable and reusable.
Wrought iron is versatile and applicable to many elements, from chandeliers, railings, and signage to monuments and art installations.
BSC Custom has the capabilities to fabricate different types of items using iron, from functional to decorative. We have the means, the experience, and professional staff open for collaboration with architects, builders, and developers on completing their next project.