Familiar to both locals and visitors, cast iron artistry remains an iconic characteristic of New Orleans. This pictorial study traces the iron work’s history from its origins in England in the sixteenth century, to the establishment of the Leeds Iron Foundry in New Orleans in 1825, and cast iron’s evolution into contemporary times.
Mass-production methods made cast iron available for numerous types of building materials, and it was used for both decorative and structural purposes. In addition to noting the application of the material for bridges, beams, and girders, the book cites cast iron’s popularity for fireplace fronts, mantels, and furniture.
Because it was more durable than wood and cheaper than wrought iron, cast iron was available in many patterns. Ornate illustrations depict the various patterns of cast iron that have been used over the years, while sections of the text detail the difference between cast iron and wrought iron.
Photographs portray examples of cast iron throughout the city of New Orleans, with the address of each establishment as a caption. The book also provides a list of local firms that specialized in ornamental iron working.