Cast iron is a building material with weight, distinguishing itself from more flimsy alloys and plastics that are common today. Behind that weight is the 8,000 year history of human experiments with smelting and metallurgy to develop crafted metal tools. To behold a cast iron object is to feel the weight of history resting in your hands.
Designers commonly employ cast iron for structure or ornamentation to achieve an authentic industrial or Victorian motif. The material gained popularity during England’s industrial revolution when in the early 1700s, Abraham Darby developed a blast furnace fired by coke, a high-carbon, low-impurity fuel made from coal. Deforestation for charcoal fuel had previously driven the price of cast iron to astronomical levels.
Darby exploited his innovation by offering higher-quality kitchen equipment at a lower cost. His cast iron pots and pans quickly found their way into the kitchens of rich and poor alike. Cast iron stoves soon followed. Darby’s innovation also allowed for the casting of much larger objects than old methods had allowed, such as the giant iron cylinder of Thomas Newcomen’s steam engine, invented in 1712. Darby kept his process a secret through three generations.
The look and feel of cast iron promises solidity, investment, and stability. It is a great choice for architectural ornamentation that communicates an unconscious message of trustworthiness to visitors.There’s an awful lot of history hiding inside the antique and vintage salvage at Eco Relics. Sensing it is as easy as feeling the cold weight of cast iron in your palm.