Decorative metal handrails, fences, gates, and the like have been popular throughout the ages, making them one of the most timeless decorative accessories to many homes and buildings. The earliest railings were forged from wrought iron in the 15th century by a blacksmith. Early examples can occasionally be found inside churches and historical buildings dating into the late 19th century.
Cast Iron railings did not come into fruition until the second half of the 18th century, following the development of a new industrial processes. However, cast iron was rarely used decoratively on the outside of homes until the late 18th century. Iron was most commonly used for railings mounted on low stone walls and balusters. Cast Iron’s popularity increased during Victorian ages and was widely used for making gates, railings, panels, and other decorative elements.
After the Victorian ages mild, low carbon steel began appearing and is what widely seen in architecture today. Although decorative components are now pressed into form using machinery or imported from Asia and Mexico it is possible to find blacksmiths following the traditional techniques dating back to the 17th century.