Since humankind first started to lay a claim to property, it has sought to divide parcels of land from one another with something more solid than a simple marker. Walls of stone and wooden barriers sufficed to do the trick, but the first proved to be too time consuming to make and the second to penetrable to marauders, poachers and the like. The ancient Chinese first developed wrought iron thousands of years ago. No one really knows when it was first put to use as a fence. But in more modern times, people have come to expect the wrought iron fence as a part of the more distinguished and elegant dwelling.
Unlike its distant cousin, chain link, the wrought iron fence is made of a number of different parts, each of which is essential to the quality of the whole. Wrought iron fence parts need to be understood in their entirety by those seeking to acquire or maintain these beautiful landmarks.
Perhaps the least obvious component of a wrought iron fence comes in the form of the fence posts that hold it in place. They may not do as much to raise the fence artistically to the level of fine art, but they are on the other hand the foundation for the finished product. Therefore, they may be the most important part. The need to be securely based in a solid foundation, and the distance between fence posts must be extremely accurate, so installing them, as well as the rest of the fence, raises the skill level of the fence builder to “artisan”.
Posts by themselves are of no use unless they follow one another in quick succession. This is not the only way a wrought iron fence can divide space. Traditional designs use panels, that are often decorated, to mount between posts and give them substance. They are frequently decorated and embellished with scroll marks and other designs, although less elegant flat panels also exist.
Wrought iron fence parts include brackets, as well. The panels, for example, need to be affixed to the posts with appropriately shaped and sized brackets that are solidly made and can be attached in the process of assembling the fence. This is customarily accomplished with bolts that run through the brackets, and if one looks closely at older fences one case see that the bolt is frequently square. This distinguishes the fence with a characteristic of antiquity, that does not necessarily reflect the fence’s true age.
Finials and other artwork
The finial is another one of the many wrought iron fence parts that gives these fences their characteristic look. Mounted on top of the posts, or in some cases in other parts of the design, they serve as more of a decoration than a functional necessity. However, many fences would seem incomplete without them. Frequently wrought in a fleur du lies or other artistic design, they often evoke mother nature resembling flowers, leaves or other forms. Some are quite simple, and repeated all the way down a line of posts. Others are more complicated, also repeated, but distinguish the palaces of nobility rather than ordinary citizens.
Gates and Hinges
The wrought iron fence is used in front of residences, and some break in the fence must exist. Gates of the same wrought iron design, or a complimentary design, solidify the entrance. They incorporate hinges on which they swing and latches to keep them closed, all made out of the same tough metal. The characteristic squeak of an unlubricated wrought iron fence gate is so much a part of the culture today that it has not only come to be expected but also gives the gate its characteristic charm. This is true even though lubrication with grease readily solves the problem.
Wrought iron fences have been around for many hundreds of years. They are made of a harmony of parts, each of which plays a role in distinguishing this type of fence from any other.