What Is a Wrought Iron Fence?

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Take a stroll through the historic neighborhoods of any city, and you’re likely to see wrought iron fences surrounding the grand homes, many with decorative elements and ornamentation. Installing a wrought iron fence not only provides security and defines a space, but also adds a feeling of elegance and refinement to your yard or garden.

Definition

  • Wrought iron is, literally, worked iron. Traditionally painted black, a wrought iron fence is made from this material, generally in an open, picket style with decorative finials and posts at regular intervals. Some wrought iron fences are adorned with scroll or other designs. Many homeowners choose a wrought iron fence because they offer the security and boundary definition of a fence without closing off the yard and landscape from the surrounding area. Wrought iron fences also are considered more elegant and refined than other types of fences.

Modern Wrought Iron

  • Traditionally, wrought iron was used for fences because it has a lower carbon content than cast iron, making it easier to mold and form into shapes while still providing strength and durability. However, as mild steel became more widely available, fewer blacksmiths used true wrought iron, and most fences manufactured today are made from mild steel. True wrought iron still is used by some blacksmith artists in restoration or replication projects, but it is very expensive and less durable than mild steel.

Imitation Wrought Iron

  • Wrought iron is a durable fence material. Some manufacturers sell fences designed to mimic the look of wrought iron, but are actually made from aluminum or other composite materials. In general, aluminum fences are not as strong as wrought iron and can be easily bent or damaged. Wrought iron provides a level of security and protection that other fences cannot, because it is difficult to damage a well-made iron fence.

History

  • Wrought iron fences were once considered synonymous with wealth, and were used only around churches, public buildings and the homes of the wealthy. As blacksmiths came to America, though, wrought iron fences became more commonplace. In the mid-1800’s, wrought iron fences were made in factories, and they became the fence of choice in urban areas due to their ability to keep property secure. Today, wrought iron fences are still made in factories, or homeowners can commission custom fences from blacksmiths. There also is a booming business in wrought iron fence salvage, and some homeowners add reclaimed fences to their property for a fraction of the cost of a new fence.

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References

  • Photo Credit wrought iron gate image by Svetlana Tikhonova from Fotolia.com
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