Learn about Cast Iron

Cast iron is produced by heating iron with a high carbon content until it liquefies, and then casting the iron into moulds of compressed sand.

Cast iron was invented in China in the 5th century BC and poured into moulds to make ploughshares and pots as well as weapons and pagodas. Although steel had been invented, was in use, and was more desirable, cast iron was cheaper and thus was more commonly used for warfare in ancient China.

In the west, cast iron did not become available until the 15th century, and its earliest uses included cannon and shot, and later, cast iron cannons, which, while heavier than the existing bronze cannons, were much cheaper to manufacture and enabled more to be produced..

Cast iron pots were made at many English blast furnaces from about the 17th century. In 1707, Abraham Darby patented a method of making pots and kettles thinner and thus cheaper than his rivals could. This meant that his Coalbrookdale furnaces became dominant as suppliers of pots, an activity in which they were joined in the 1720s and 1730s by a small number of other coke-fired blast furnaces. more...

Learn about Coalbrookdale Company

The Coalbrookdale Company was founded in 1709 by Abraham Darby, who was originally involved in the making of brass pots and began experiments in 1707 that finally led to the patent for casting iron bellied pots in dry sand and in particular, to the art of casting them in thin section.

He leased a furnace at Coalbrookdale, and from there the company expanded rapidly to meet demand for its castings and forgings. Additonal furnaces were established locally and in surrounding towns, and by about 1750 the company was the largest in England.

Coalbrookdale had a growing reputation among engineers, and by 1778 the Company had cast more than 100 steam cylinders and many complete engines, including Boulton and Watt engines, under licence.

At this time the company commenced building the world's first cast iron bridge, completed in 1781, and which gained Abraham Darby III (grandson of the founder) the Gold Medal of the Society of Arts in 1790.

In the 1840s, the company was in the hands of Francis Darby, the son of Abraham Darby III, and it began developing lines of decorative furniture. more...
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19th century green painted wrought iron outdoor coat and umbrella stand, in the manner of Coalbrookdale. 185 cm x70 cm

A Victorian Coalbrookdale style cast iron hall stand. 92 cm, high, 64 cm wide, 23 cm deep

A Victorian Coalbrookdale cast iron hallstand. 240 cm high, 64 cm long, 27 cm deep

A Coalbrookdale style cast iron hall stand highly decorative, cast and painted as an ivy clad arbour with a mirror and reserves depicting bucolic figures in relief engaged in farming pursuits, a semi circular marble table with a small drawer above a confor

A fine Victorian Coalbrookdale cast iron hallstand with central mirror flanked by scrolled hooks, below a drawer, flanked by scrolled umbrella stand. 213 cm high, 114 cm wide

A Coalbrookdale umbrella stand domed top above an arched mirror flanked by coat hooks below a drawer and umbrella holders

Coalbrookdale style 19th century green painted wrought iron hall stand, registration mark for January 1867 approx 173 cm high, 58 cm wide, 25 cm deep

Coalbrookdale hallstand: English cast iron decorated with griffins & fauns, late 19th century. Height 223 cm, width 104 cm, depth 40 cm

A Victorian Coalbrookdale cast iron hall-tree, the centre pillar with shell decoration and out swept arms, each with hooks, below an umbrella stands, the reverse with registration mark. 214 cm high, 95 cm wide 37 cm deep.

A Victorian Coalbrookdale wrought iron and marble hallstand, with pagoda cornice above a rectangular mirror flanked by coat hooks, below a black marble shelf flanked by umbrella stands.

A late 19th century, later painted cast iron umbrella stand in the Coalbrookdale manner with portrait emblem and removable drip tray

Christopher Dresser, coat stand, 1867, cast iron, now painted white, manufactured by Coalbrookdale Co., height 189 cm, width 68.5 cm

A Victorian Coalbrookdale cast iron umbrella stand, with a date registration mark, having a spiral top rail flanked by finials and surmounted by pierced decoration with a vase shaped foliate decorated splat and umbrella stands with drip trays

A fine Victorian cast iron Coalbrookdale hallstand with central mirror flanked by scrolled hooks, below drawer flanked by scrolled umbrella stand

A fine late 19th century Coalbrookdale cast iron hallstand with oval mirror flanked by scrolled hooks, below umbrella stands and drip trays

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