Are you thinking of giving your patio a classic and sophisticated look? Maybe you want to buy some vintage wrought iron patio furniture but are unsure how to identify the real thing. After all, in the world today, there are so many replicas on the market.
Read on to learn more about wrought iron furniture and how to identify an authentic piece easily.
When was Wrought Iron Patio Furniture Made?
Wrought iron furniture dates back to the 1800s. At that time, it was made for the wealthy elite for use in their gardens and patios, indoors and outdoors.
Back then, manufacturers painted the iron patio sets dark colors. But later on, some blacksmiths began using white.
Wrought iron furniture was famous in the 1930s through the works of Salterini, Leinfelder, and Lee Woodward, and later on by the Florentine Craft Studio. If you were a collector, those were the places to get the best wrought iron patio furniture.
How to Identify Vintage Wrought Iron Patio Furniture?
Picking out vintage from what appears valuable can be challenging, whether you’re buying entire dining sets, side chairs, lounge chairs, an unmarked patio side chair, a coffee table, or a round table.
Here is a complete guide to help you identify excellent quality vintage wrought iron patio set.
1. Mold Lines
The first thing to check is if the furniture has any mold lines. The advent of the cast iron smelting has enabled manufacturers to produce items that resemble wrought iron pieces.
However, unlike cast iron furniture, vintage wrought iron furniture does not have any mold lines. The key to this particular difference is the process used to make them.
Cast iron is made by pouring molten iron into a mold and allowing it to harden. Once the piece cools off, it’s opened, and the mold is removed. Due to the cast nature, the end product would have some mold lines upon removal.
You can also identify authentic wrought iron by checking its weight.
Wrought iron is a heavy metal, and moving the furniture should be challenging. In fact, back in the 1960s, wrought iron went out of style due to its sheer weight.
Vintage wrought iron furniture is not easy to come by. Therefore, the price of the furniture should not be too low.
Whether you’re buying it at a flea market, estate sale, specialty store, or antique store, the price can give you insight into the item’s authenticity, as different design styles of vintage generally have a higher price tag.
If you’re not sure how much a piece costs, it’s best to first compare prices before purchasing. Check on eBay or other online retailers with catalogs or pattern books that include the price.
If the price appears too low than the expected average price, the item is likely aluminum, cast iron, or mild steel containing carbon content. not wrought iron,
Before making a purchase, you should carefully examine the piece for any presence of rust.
The presence of rust could mean the piece is made of wrought iron. If there’s no rust, it could be that the item is aluminum.
5. Textured Surface
As the phrase “wrought” implies, ironsmiths smashed melted iron ore with a hammer to make wrought iron furniture. For this reason, the furniture should feel texturized because of all the smashing and ironwork.
If the surface appears rough but is smooth, it’s probably made of cast iron, not wrought iron. A common sign of cast iron items is their uniformity.
6. Perform a Magnet Test
Performing a magnet test is the easiest way to identify a piece made of wrought iron. Press a magnet on the iron pieces, and if there’s attraction, it’s genuine wrought iron.
However, you’ll need to perform additional tests because the magnet could also be attracted by cast iron, which is often used to make much furniture that’s modern.
7. Presence of Marks
Most vintage wrought iron furniture was made by blacksmiths. It was handmade furniture, therefore, it should not have any identification markings. Instead, it should bear hammer marks.
Most Wrought iron furniture values durability over good looks.
So check the furniture’s leg sides, underside, backside, and frame for a maker’s mark. Any stamped or engraved marks could indicate that the piece is not vintage.
How to Restore Vintage Wrought Iron Patio Furniture
Once in a while, you’ll notice your patio furniture is out of shape, probably because of a rusted patina or age.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to replace the furniture. Sometimes simple repairs could do the trick.
To restore vintage wrought iron patio furniture, follow the steps below:
1. Scrape Off Existing Paint and Rust
Using a piece of sandpaper, scrub off the paint on the furniture.
Attach a wire brush to a drill to help get off any paint on the cracks of the furniture. If the furniture has a wide diameter, this may take a while.
Just ensure you wear safety goggles.
2. Clean the Furniture
Clean the furniture with water and soap to eliminate all dust and grease, then rinse it off thoroughly.
Allow the furniture time to dry.
3. Apply Primer
Apply a rust-resistant primer to prolong your furniture’s lifespan and prevent future rusting. After applying the primer, give it about 24 hours to dry off.
4. Paint The Furniture
Give your furniture a fresh coat of paint. Ensure you use paint that’s designed specifically for outdoor furniture.
The paint will initially serve its purpose but don’t be alarmed if it starts to peel off. That’s normal.
5. Protect The Finish
Spray or brush your furniture with a clear protective coating of varnish to finish off. It makes your furniture more durable and resistant to rust and chipping, allowing it to stay in good condition for a long time.
Factors to Consider When Using Wrought Iron Patio Furniture
Wrought iron furniture is rather delicate and requires special attention and care. Below are some recommendations to consider when handling wrought iron furniture.
1. Avoid Getting it Wet
While wrought iron is commonly used in Brooklyn gates today, as a rule of thumb, prolonged exposure to water is bad for wrought iron items
Consider installing a shed for your wrought iron garden furniture to protect it from heavy rain, especially if you enjoy country living with the lush greenery or live in areas with inclement weather. You’ll need to do this before the rainy season commences.
2. Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Sunlight
If you expose your wrought iron furniture to sunlight over long periods, it’s more likely to begin rusting.
3. Frequently Clean Your Furniture
Get into the habit of cleaning your vintage wrought iron patio furniture.
There are cleaning agents for this job, although these can be expensive. A mild dishwashing detergent is an excellent option if you’d want to opt for something more pocket-friendly.
There you have it. If you’re looking to buy a vintage wrought iron item, now you can easily distinguish an authentic piece from a replica. Go ahead and give your patio a fresh new look with the different design styles of antique wrought iron decor.