METRO PLUS

Wrought in beauty

ONE OF the most puzzling terms in the ornamental metal business, is the phrase `wrought iron.' The confusion is logical since even the dictionaries cannot agree on a single definition. Technically speaking, any metal can be `wrought,' but the common usage and perception is that `wrought' applies to ferrous metals.

The common vision of the public is of a blacksmith hammering wrought iron on an anvil with a coal forge in the background. It is generally accepted that `wrought' means any metal that is hammered, twisted or bent into shape, as compared to `cast', which is poured at a foundry.

Wrought in beauty

What exactly is wrought iron, than, bearing a similarity to the much in demand cast iron? It is the ornamental form of mild steel (MS), or as a connoisseur in the metal business would describe: an ethnic combination of style and durability that blends with other exclusive building materials to add the distinctive ornate look.

What makes this metal distinguish from cast iron, than in the fact that it is the purest form of iron made by removing other impurities with just 0.2 per cent of carbon content, that it is flexible, and strong, and can be welded and forged nor does it expand on solidification and does not rust easily? Beauty. Not many are aware of the sheer durability and maintenance free nature of wrought iron. It's especially preferred for ornamental furniture, window grills, staircase railings, and designer gates, partition in homes, offices and commercial establishments.

Wrought in beauty

The fact is that wrought iron is an ideal metal to work with. The metal is corrosion resistant, handles stress well, and can accept a thicker finish. Rather than having the detached characteristic of modern steels, true wrought is like bread dough. In a single square inch there may be 250,000 or more of glass like little slag fibres. By their very nature, the fibres help the metal do a better job of absorbing stress. This in turn provides the natural corrosion resistance. It's true that nearly all ferrous metals rust, but wrought iron does a better job at handling it. Because of its corrosion resistance, wrought was the metal of choice in earlier years for marine use, bridges, and girders. It is structurally constructed for the old time blacksmiths. Some of the world's most famous metalwork is made of wrought iron.

It is an accepted fact that, the cast iron is more prone to damages and is brittle. Once again in sharp contrast to cast iron which weighs more, wrought iron weighs less for the same volume and is mild and light.

Wrought in beauty

Wrought iron products also includes sofa sets, fancy mirror frames, candle stands etc. According to an architect's point of view, wrought iron revives the Victorian elegance in designs and brings in an aura of old world charm to your home. Indians are yet to make full use of the specialty of this metal, although they are showing signs of striking an affinity for this metal. It's better known in the north than down south though, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai seemed to have understood the novelty of wrought iron and look all set to change their loyalties from cast iron.

Wrought iron is yet to catch on in Kerala as of now. Cast iron is largely preferred over wrought iron and there aren't many manufacturers in the State too. Experts claim the reason being the high cost of production which doubles when manufactured in our State, what with the labour charges too hot to handle. In such a set-up, says Ms. Nycil George, who runs a wrought iron business in the city " For the time being we bring in the finished goods from Hyderabad and sell it here, but I am confident of introducing this metal in Kerala markets and creating an awareness regarding the exceptionality of wrought iron. What is important is, that wrought iron should catch on in the Kerala market," she adds.