A cast iron umbrella stand may be enjoying resurgence in popularity but this is not the first time this has happened. In the industrial age, the mass manufacture of these products made them more affordable. Suddenly the middle classes could afford beautiful furniture for their homes. There was more money to spend on decorating the home and the type and styles of furnishing available increased. Stands for umbrellas, vases, picture frames and mirror holders were no longer just items of necessity. They quickly became decorative items with intricate carvings being particularly popular. The newly rich sought to copy the designs that had been common only in the mansions and estates of the wealthy.
The popularity of cast iron garden furniture also increased and it remained popular until the 1930’s. Then the Second World War arrived and with it the need for iron and steel by the armaments industry. People couldn’t use these materials to make a cast iron umbrella stand as it all had to produce war supplies so their popularity declined. They were also heavy to move so people decided to go back to wooden or wicker patio furniture or to try more modern materials such as aluminum.
Fashion generally goes around in circles and now cast iron furniture is increasing again in popularity. Part of the reason for this is that we are all becoming more conscious of our impact on the environment. Rather than felling loads more trees we are looking to other materials to use to make furniture and decorative items. Suddenly reclamation is the new fashion and more people are going to salvage yards and backyard sales than ever before. Competition is increasing and people are fighting over a cast iron umbrella stand when a couple of years ago it would have been thrown out with rubbish.
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