Wrought Iron Chandeliers and Ceiling Fixtures

Handmade chandeliers offer unsurpassed beauty. They are rugged and homey at the same time, harkening back to slower, more personable times in history. If you can find actual wrought iron lighting for your home, you are very fortunate.

What is wrought iron?

“Wrought” means worked, so wrought iron is iron that has been worked, as in having been extruded, rolled, hammered, or forged by hand into a different form. More specifically, the metal that blacksmiths use to create their final projects is iron alloy, which is tough but malleable and has a low carbon content. When it is stretched beyond what it should be for maximum strength, one can see that it has a grain to it as wood does.

Why is genuine wrought iron lighting scarce?

Blacksmiths of former centuries, who made every common, useful item out of wrought iron, from wagon wheels to the railroad rails that helped to tame the American West, were replaced by machines during the Industrial Revolution. The iron that blacksmiths had used to make steel for swords and other items through the centuries was replaced by other metal that was discovered to be capable of creating stronger steel. Mass production enabled the production costs per item to decrease and more things to be created and sold to an ever-increasing population.

What is the history of wrought iron chandeliers?

For centuries, iron alloy was forged to create candelabras like you see in movies of medieval times. Some lighting was hung from ceilings and had pullies so they could be lowered and the candles attended to. Like just about everything else, this kind of lighting was commercially made after the Industrial Revolution, and most lighting was electrified.

What kinds of wrought iron light fixtures do blacksmiths make?

You may find actual handmade iron lighting that was made by a blacksmith and will likely be much more on the rustic side than you will have expected. Some blacksmiths specialize in paper plate holders and other things that sell better than unrefined wrought iron lighting does, including useful unusual items that are not being reproduced by machine.

What is commonly advertised through commercial means as “wrought iron” chandeliers, wall sconces, and free-standing candelabras are actually commercially made steel lighting items that range from rustic designs and finishes to much more formal ones. Some of the more rugged fixtures have places to put candles, while others feature glass bowls in which to place candles. The electrified fixtures have light bulbs that are shaped like flames. Styles range from rustic to formal.

What kinds of decors do these fixtures fit in with?

Both rugged and formal decors can benefit from this kind of lighting. Rugged decors with handmade fireplaces and furniture, such as what some ranches and log cabins contain, may be good fits for the rustic versions. More formal Old English settings would likely carry the more formal, contemporary versions of this historically rudimentary lighting.