The History of Wrought Iron Fencing

The History of Wrought Iron Fencing - aluminum fences

06 Jul The History of Wrought Iron Fencing

A wood fence with a modern design can be very attractive, but chances are if you are installing residential wooden fencing, your primary motivation is probably privacy or security. Normally, when we talk about ornamental fencing we are referring to steel or aluminum fences that may be reminiscent in style to traditional wrought iron fences or may provide contemporary flair to a property.

Today’s ornamental fences are prefabricated from tubular bars, which enables Zepco – a leader in the sale and installation of residential and commercial fences in South Florida – to offer home and business owners a wide selection of stylish options at affordable prices.

As the American Fence Association explains, “Both ornamental aluminum and iron are earth friendly and sport environmentally friendly finishes. Furthermore, aluminum is 100% recyclable and can be recycled repeatedly without breaking down. Most manufacturers, in their aluminum extrusions, use substantial percentages of recycled scrap. The industry standard calls for recycled content of about 70%. Many manufacturers have green certification to that effect, which specifiers commonly look for.”

Modern materials allow us to offer homeowners in Boca Raton and the surrounding communities, a beautiful selection of ornamental fences that can enhance landscaping and convey a sense of security.

There was a time, however, when what we refer to as ornamental fences were made from hand-forged iron. According to Traditional Building Portfolio’s feature Fencing Through the Years, “Wood may be plentiful but it is perishable, and the more durable fence has always been made from ironwork, a tradition that has its roots in Europe but begins in America with the first domestic forge: the Saugus Ironworks in Massachusetts, established in 1644.”

Originally, wrought iron was simply iron ore refined with a low carbon content. “Compared to the higher carbon content of cast iron and steel, wrought iron is close to pure iron, making it very malleable and readily formed into characteristic scrolls, twists and leaves. It is also easy to weld and less susceptible to rust than other ferrous metals,” Gordon H. Bock explains in the feature on fencing through the years.

“Small forges like Saugus Iron Works typically produced functional products such as andirons and hardware (hinges, locks, nails), but by the 18th century fencing was more common in cities such as Charleston, SC, which produced acclaimed fences and railings by three German smiths (Lusti, Christopher and Ortmann). Though much of New Orleans’ illustrious ironwork is actually cast iron, earlier wrought-iron fences and railings show a French and Spanish influence, and there are indications that some pieces may have been imported from Spain.”

By the dawn of the 20th century, steel had replaced iron as the primary metal used in construction, but that didn’t mean the end of wrought iron fences.  In fact, according to Bock, it enjoyed a revival of its popularity and growth in the creativity of its designs at the time. “By happy coincidence, wrought-iron craftsmen of the Revival had more sophisticated tools and aids at their disposal than early ironworkers, allowing them to make more complex designs,” he says. 

At Zepco, you can find a selection of beautiful styles of fences with the elegant look of wrought iron combined with the easy maintenance and environmentally friendly nature of modern steel and aluminum fencing materials.

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