Historic cast iron posts are a great inspiration for new installations or custom designs. Historic posts tend to be entirely cast iron and once a foundry pattern has been built to replicate a historic design or historic inspired design, reproduction of project quantities of posts in a foundry is very economical. Historic cast iron posts often look very attractive with simple railings although they might have been seen paired with ornate wrought and cast iron railings historically.
Cast iron posts with sculpted ornamentation or botanical relief may require original post casting samples for accurate reproduction but some post designs like the gothic posts in these galleries could be reproduced from good images and rough scale drawings. The classical, gothic and federal designs tend to build up their design from many smaller geometric primitives that can be reproduced accurately to scale or even scaled up or down to fit a site specific design.
The city of Richmond has some of the finest examples of cast iron architecture in the country and we owe much of our understanding of the history of cast iron in Richmond to Robert P. Winthrop and his book, Cast and Wrought, The Architectural Metalwork of Richmond, Virginia. We should also acknowledge out debt to the efforts of Mary Wingfield Scott of the Valentine Museum for her work to preserve the records of Richmond’s architectural history and Margo Gayle for her pioneering efforts to preserve cast iron architecture in New York City which was the inspiration for many others.
Classical Square Cast Iron Posts
Historic Gothic Design Cast Iron Posts
Our hometown, Richmond, Virginia, has some excellent examples of historic gothic style cast iron posts and railings. What sets these historic posts apart is the focus and elevation of a single style. By the middle 1800’s foundries in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore were publishing catalogues of decorative cast iron in every traditional style imaginable to appeal to the Victorian era appetite for diverse embellishment of building forms and many fine examples of decorative cast iron have multiple architectural styles represented in a single design.
By the time Brooklyn architect Minard Lafever was commissioned to design the Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond in 1847, Lafever had become noted for his focus on gothic style architecture. Dr. Moses Drury Hodge is quoted saying he was “tired of Grecian temples with spires on them.” Lafever delivered a gothic designed church complete with a custom designed cast iron fence. The cast iron posts and railings of the Second Presbyterian are unique and designed explicitly to compliment the building architecture.
Another rare example of unique building specific cast iron design is the Old City Hall of Richmond, Virginia designed by Elisha Myers and cast by Richmond foundryman Asa Snyder.
Cast Iron Post Designs with Open Work Panels
Cast iron posts made with four open work panels are a clever way to lighten up an otherwise monumental post design. Open work panels allow for pass through or artificial lighting of a post and are easy to cast. For large posts, an articulated design of multiple flat panels is efficiently patterned and cast in a foundry for dramatic effect. Richmond Iron can reproduce any historic or new design in cast iron, bronze or aluminum.