As steel became the common metal for manufacturing and construction the popularity of wrought iron declined, but the term 'wrought iron' is still used to describe steel railings or gates that have been 'wrought' or worked by hand. The majority of wrought iron products available today are made from mild steel and not iron as the name would suggest. This is because mild steel is a much better material. It is stronger and easier to work with and is also easier to weld than iron. It is also much more resistant to corrosion. All of the properties make mild steel the ideal material to use to make gates and railings along with a huge range of other products including things like nails, screws and pipe work.
Wrought iron railings and gates have been popular all over the UK since the sixteenth century. They could be found on almost every urban street and could also be found surrounding pretty much every public park and stately home. Many of these wrought iron railings and gates were removed during WWII as part of the war effort and only stumps were left behind. More recently many homeowners have started to replace these long lost railings with designs that date back to the period the original railings would have been fitted. Some choose to update the look with contemporary gates and railings.
The wonderful thing about wrought iron is the amount of choice you have when it comes to decorative features. You can choose from design details such as arching, twisted pickets, swooping, decorative finials and knuckles and sweeping scroll work. All of these design features can easily be incorporated into any design. Wrought iron railings and gates can be manufactured to match any home from a large stately home to a Victorian town house to a modest country cottage and even a seafront villa.
Wrought iron railings are also ideal for commercial premises where security is a main priority. Fence panels and gates can be made to any height or length and finals can top each picket acting as both an aesthetic as well as security feature. If you want the ultimate in defensive railings you can install heavy duty palisade fencing alongside electronically operated security gates.
Considering that over four hundred years have passed since wrought iron was first used for wrought iron railings and gates, the designs have hardly changed at all. Neither has the processes used in their manufacture. The only real difference is that wrought iron was replaced with steel in the late nineteenth century but this is really a minor detail. The basic design and purposes of wrought iron railings and gates is still the same as it was hundreds of years ago and most likely will do for years and years to come.