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...
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Pair of Victorian painted cast iron garden chairs. Possibly Coalbrookdale, each with pierced decoration to the back and seat, the round back decorated with a central medallion depicting a peasant, raised on richly cast cabriole legs surmounted by classical

A Victorian Coalbrookdale cast iron garden bench. Length of back 178 cm

Set of six cast metal Coalbrookdale style garden chairs (6)

An early 20th century cast iron Park bench stamped Coalbrookdale, with wooden slats, the back and sides cast with a trellis of Nasturtium leaves, 177.5 cm wide

Coalbrookdale 'Nasturtium' pattern, pair of cast iron garden seats, stamped C.B.Dale Co No.195629 and with diamond design patent registration stamp beneath the central cresting at the front, further stamped No. 44 beneath, and with Coalbrookdale stamped to

A pair of cast iron garden seats attributed to Coalbrookdale, each with a medallion back, cast with a representation of the seasons summer and spring respectively

A cast iron framed garden bench attributed to Coalbrookdale, the back cast with four medallions depicting figural representations of the four seasons, within a pierced foliate cast surround, 184 cm wide

A Coalbrookdale cast iron horse Chestnut bench, with registration mark and seat number, replacement bolts and weak seat planks, recoated, 186 cm width

A Victorian cast-iron English Coalbrookdale conservatory table. Circular form, with an inset marble top within foliate decoration, on a foliate decorated column, with a flared base. 77 cm high, 59 cm wide.

A pair of Coalbrookdale style cast iron bench ends and table ends

A late Victorian Coalbrookdale 'Fern and Blackberry' pattern white painted cast iron garden bench, stamped Coalbrookdale to the front rail, re-painted, 148 cm wide, 60 cm deep, 90 cm high. The original design, No. 113617, was registered and patented by the

A late Victorian Coalbrookdale 'Horse Chestnut' pattern white painted cast iron garden bench, fully stamped Coalbrookdale Company and with diamond registration stamps, re-painted, 186 cm wide, 67 cm deep, 99 cm high. The design of this bench, number 217568

A late Victorian green painted cast iron garden bench in the Coalbrookdale 'Peacock' pattern, the pierced back with central arch above a cast iron slatted seat, raised on conforming folliate scroll decorated end supports with outswept feet, 122 cm wide, 66

Rare 19th century Coalbrookdale cast iron Fern leaf patterned single garden chair.

Coalbrookdale cast iron garden bench 'Fern Pattern', cast iron seat, painted green

Coalbrookdale cast iron garden bench, lily of the Valley pattern, wood slate seat painted green

A Victorian cast iron garden seat Replicating the Coalbrookdale Company's design of the 1870s, the curved rectangular back with cast and pierced with fern motifs, above a wooden slatted seat

Coalbrookdale 'Nasturtium pattern' cast iron garden bench, late 19th century, the back stamped number '1056329', painted white, (a/f). Length 95 cm

Coalbrookdale 'Nasturtium pattern' cast iron garden bench, late 19th century, the back stamped 'Cb Dale and Co' number '195629', painted white. Length 180 cm

Dr Christopher Dresser, for Coalbrookdale Co, cast iron garden bench. Length 110 cm. Depth 47 cm. Height 78 cm

Coalbrookdale Co, garden bench, London c1880, 'Berry and fern' pattern. Length 157 cm. Depth 50 cm. Height 80 cm

Two white painted Victorian Coalbrookdale nasturtium wrought iron benches, with nasturtium design, the back profusely decorated with nasturstiums above a slat seat, marked Coalbrookdale and numbered 195629, with a registration mark;. Width 134 cm

Coalbrookdale Company, cast iron berry and fern pattern garden bench, London, painted cream

Coalbrookdale Company, pair of garden seats, London, berry and fern pattern, cast iron, painted cream