Decorative iron railings feature distinctive designs, such as hammered spoons, belly balustrades, open baskets, ribbon twists and loopy forged designs. Railings are personalized with initials, medallions, fleur-de-lis and family crests. A railing that serves as a fence might incorporate elaborate stylized sunburst patterns that duplicate or complement a similar larger sunburst on the wrought-iron gate. Eighteenth-century European railings made for important churches and other public buildings still display hand-forged turned balusters, elaborate cross rails and cone-and-ball finials.Continue Reading
Details worked into the metal by master forgers may be copied by machine for ornate railings. Hammered spoons are flattened spoon-shaped baluster segments that interrupt the straight lines and frequently bookend bulbous, rounded knuckles.
Cast iron is less durable and more brittle, but slightly flexible wrought iron may be shaped into initials for monogrammed porch or interior railings. Small initials might be framed on top and bottom by balusters with hammered-spoon shapes at the point of connection.
Balcony and mezzanine railings that balloon into a globe shape might display a single iron medallion dead center. Belly balusters that "belly out" in a curve at the bottom are also used for balcony rails, especially for Juliet balconies.
Extremely ornate cast-iron fence railings and gates, such as those surrounding the British Museum, sport oversize knuckles, an ornamental hammered wrought-iron frieze, grooved posts and open-moulded finials.Learn more about Interior Decorating