When you think about iron beds, what’s the first thing that will come to mind?
Well if your a women, it’s possibly something like “elegant” , “attractive”, “intimate”…if you’re a man, it’s probably “girlie”, “feminine”. It’s a preconceived notion most people have of those stunning old antique iron beds that graced the bedrooms of Victorian homes and estates alike, throughout the 1800′s.
The issue that naturally helps establish a persons initial view of one of these old metal beds, is it’s “finish” or “color”……. even more so than the form and the design. I’ve had beds that were incredibly opulent 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 painted 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 extremely 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 contemplates the use of antique iron beds as being too feminine, they’re not realizing that the majority of our population, back in the 1800′s, were sleeping in them. Families were raised in them.
The “visual” has often been our preliminary way of judging anything. It’s not until you get to know the internal workings of how something is manufactured, 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 certainly not sleep in a thin gauge ordinary bed with modest corner brass finials. But that, quite frequently was the case.
Why? Because back in the 1800′s there were two things that came into play that would have seen such a pairing quite common. The first was that iron beds, quite often were not seen as a decorative piece of furniture as they are these days.
Back at that period they were seen simply as a utilitarian piece of furniture to elevate and support the mattress. The second thing that came into play was the manner in which the decorating of a home, and particularly that of the bedroom was in no way a concern of the man. That was strictly delegated to the wife or woman of the household.
In the 1800′s such things as interior design were considered something a woman understood more about and were chauvinistically thought of 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 interested in such things, otherwise 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.