The emergence of metal design
Metal design first appeared in the 19th Century , at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Metal design in homes was above all in the kitchen, with the moulded cast iron stove, which first made an appearance in 1840 and, in addition to cooking, heated the water and the house.
Metal design was also visible on the cooking plates, with cast iron pots, which would be mass-produced by industrial groups.
Metal design was in the home, but it was also in the urban environment. Gas streetlights made of metal started to appear in Parisian streets in 1930, replacing oil-fired lamps, hung out in the streets by means of chains.
Foundries were rubbing their hands with glee, as metal design was increasing sought after for street furniture, and by the construction industry. For example, after the carpenters strike in Paris in 1840, metal was called on to replace wood in factory buildings, stations and department stores.
Wood floors, framing and beams were now rethought in metal. Manufacturers devised a static and robust iron framework, and resolved the question of sturdiness.
It proved that this ingenious system meant a considerable amount of time was saved in the manufacture and installation of ironwork. Metal design was approved, adopted and started to expand.
Workshop chest of 16 drawers
Rapid expansion of metal design
One of the major developments of the 19th Century was urban development in the city, which had to suit all inhabitants and meet a number of quality criteria. Metal design got in on the act.
Following numerous diseases and epidemics, in 1872, the City of Paris ordered the Val d'Osne foundry, which was making the metal street lights adorning the city, to manufacture Wallace fountains. Metal was perfect for making the water very hygienic, it would now be drinkable and the population healthier.
Public spaces had to be adapted to leisure activities, so parks were landscaped as places of relaxation for all the city's inhabitants. A Robust metal industrial bench, water fountains and metal shelters were all installed in these green areas.In the streets, house porches and metro entrances were enlaced with metal and glass structures.
Metal design proved to be indispensable and was to play a key role in development of the industrial and urban landscape, but also in the burgeoning consumer society.
Bow bistro table