We’ve all found ourselves walking through historic neighborhoods or business districts, admiring the beautiful handworked cast iron railings and window grills. Whether the building is brick, stone or another facade, the cast iron workings add a sense of history and romance to the scene. Sadly, the passage of time and incorrect maintenance has lead to the degradation of many of these elements. Antique Cast Iron, LLC is dedicated to preserving and repairing these fixtures – contact us if you are ready to restore antique cast iron railings, window grills and more.
Most people don’t realize cast iron wasn’t purley ornamental when it was originally placed. These fixtures served many purposes: to help stop fire damage, to act as protection against theft and to add structural stability to the building. To understand the importance of preserving cast iron, we should look at the history of how it became common in turn-of the century architecture.
These thin iron workings represent an industrial revolution in architecture. Until the mid-1820’s, all iron work was hand-wrought. This made iron too expensive to be used regularly. Once furnace technology advanced to allow rendering of cast iron elements, the material found its way into common architecture. Cotton mills first turned to the material as it was flame-resistant and strong, but it became a popular choice for all building purposes due to its strength and beauty.
In 1820, the first iron storefronts were being placed in New York City. Shop owners found the material especially attractive as it allowed passer-bys to view their goods and wares for sale. Churches and theaters began to explore the material as a means of attractive support for balconies. Architects appreciated the load-bearing qualities of cast iron, and began installing it into windows and storefronts in order to allow multi-storied buildings.
Artists and architects began experimenting with the material, often creating one-of-a-kind designs for custom orders. Due to the nature of cast iron many of these designs survive today. With the rehabbing and remodeling of storefronts and residential areas, however, these structures are in danger of being lost as they are being removed and replaced.
Despite it’s durability, no material is immune to the rigors of the environment. Cast iron is no exception, and many owners of historic shops find themselves with antique cast iron fixtures that are suffering the wear of years of use. Cast iron fittings may be loose in their seatings, rusted, broken or otherwise damaged. These defects can make them hazardous to the structure of the building as well as unattractive. Unfortunately, some shop owners choose to have the failing cast iron removed and replaced, which can be costly and alters the historic charm of the building.
Removal and replacement isn’t necessary if your cast-iron is failing. Antique Cast Iron specializes in the restoration and preservation of cast iron railings, fences, and window grills. Our services include maintenance, repairs and fabrication of identical replacement panels that allow you to continue to enjoy your antique cast iron while maintaining the historic value of your building.
While many people attempt to paint or clean antique cast iron themselves, this is potentially dangerous given the composition of the paint, contaminants in the removed coatings and, depending on the cleaning method used, damaging to the cast iron fixtures themselves. Our technicians are fully trained in how to safely restore cast iron to its original beauty without causing further damage to the material. In most cases, we can repair damage that exists while protecting your cast iron against further wear.
This is achieved through the proper removal of old surface coatings, remediation of any corrosion or rust, and repair of existing pieces to include recasting of new pieces that will blend seamlessly with the existing cast iron. We then utilize modern coatings that are superior at protecting your cast iron from moisture or elemental damage.
Antique Cast Iron has had the privilege of working to restore historic iron fixtures to some of the most beautiful structures found in Northeast, whether they be residential or business. You can view after photos of some of our projects on our site.
After nearly 30 years of Historic Cast Iron preservation, we’re proud to be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. Our work has been mentioned in the National Park Tech Notes in acknowledgement of developing a procedure that allows preservation of historic street vault lights. We take our work beyond repair. We care about preserving the history and beauty of antique cast iron elements. Contact us at http://antiquecastironplus.com/contact/