Thursday, January 21, 2016

The oldest cast iron item and building in the World

The First Usage of Cast Iron

The Iron Bridge in England, constructed in 1781

By Daniel Fischermann

Cast iron has been in usage since 500 BC in China. Cast iron was poured into molds to make different items such as iron pans. The Chinese knew steel at the time, but cast iron was cheaper and therefore more commonly used. Steel was used for more expensive weapons for the elite. Also, wrought iron was used for weapons at the time. Wrought iron has many of the same characteristics as cast iron, but it is stronger than cast iron and it is also not brittle. 

First Usage in the West

The earliest use of cast iron in Europe was around 1100 AD or more than 1600 years after the first use of cast iron in China. Cast iron was used extensively before and during the industrial revolution. The first cast-iron bridge was build in 1781 in England by Abraham Darby III.
Canopies in cast iron, 1904

The First Cast Iron Buildings

Cast iron was used in the US as an architectural material for entire facades buildings from the mid-to-late-nineteenth century after the beginning of the industrial revolution. This was very unique for buildings in the US, at, therefore, American cities, especially New York, has the largest numbers of cast iron buildings in the world. One of the oldest Cast Iron building was build in 1826 in New York. The building is located on No. 506 Canal Street. The oldest cast iron building in Europe is from might be Gardners Warehouse in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. The building is from 1856. Se more on the warehouses here.  The oldest cast iron building in India is from 1869 and is The Watson's Hotel.

Drawing of a cast iron facade, late 19th century 

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